Saadi Gaddafi, third son of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, has been charged with killing a former soccer teammate, according to Libya’s state LANA news agency.
Gaddafi is being charged with the murder of Bashir Riani, a Libyan soccer player who played alongside Gaddafi when the latter played professionally. Xinhua notes that the charges are the first coming down from a Tripoli court since Gaddafi was extradited into Libya from Niger.
Gaddafi made his first court appearance since his extradition; he is pleading not guilty to this and all other charges, including several other murders, systematic rape, and sabotage. Many of these crimes are alleged to have occurred during his father’s reign and the ensuing revolt to overthrow him. Iran’s Fars news agency is reporting more details on those charges, which allegedly include personally shooting and killing several anti-Gaddafi protesters. The report notes that Gaddafi is one of many former regime figures facing trial. Former Intelligence Chief Abdullah Senussi and former Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmudi are also facing similar charges.
Saadi Gaddafi reporetedly spent a year and a half in Niger as a fugitive before being extradited in March. Both he and his brother Saif al-Islam Gaddafi are currently detained by Libyan authorities. Saadi is believed to be facing the death penalty should he be found guilty of the numerous crimes alleged, which would make him the first of his family to be charged and convicted of the many crimes the large Gaddafi family is accused of committing.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi appeared remotely before a Tripoli court in May from a prison cell in Zintan, Libya. He is also pleading not guilty to a number of crimes similar to the accusations against his brother, in addition to corruption charges.
Time will reveal whether Saif al-Islam may also be convicted, though some have argued that, as a looming authority during his father’s administration, known for its brutality, he should not be put before the Libyan court system. In May, Amnesty International called for Libya to surrender Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to the International Criminal Court, where he is being accused of committing crimes against humanity. The Libyan government has so far refused to surrender him, and the ICC has not requested that Saadi be turned in.
Saadi Gaddafi’s trial is scheduled to begin on June 25.