Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, the playboy son of the former Libyan dictator, has said he was putting his faith in God as he appeared in a court to answer charges arising from the revolution which overthrew his family's rule.
Wearing a blue prison uniform, his head and beard shaved, he smiled over a video link from his secret prison when the Tripoli court asked if he had a lawyer. "I have a lawyer," he said. "God." He repeated the answer when asked a second time, and when the judge asked if he wanted the court to appoint him a lawyer, he said: "No, God is my lawyer."
Saif al-Islam is among 37 senior officials charged with a variety of crimes, including ordering attacks on civilians, providing arms to attack citizens, and ordering the arrest of political prisoners. In his case, the charges relate to his role in attempting to put down the initial stages of the uprising against his father's 40-year rule in 2011.
The video link was a compromise with the militia that controls the Zintan area and took Saif al-Islam there after they captured him in the Sahara desert, saying it was not safe to transfer him to Tripoli.
Saadi Gaddafi, his brother, is expected to be added to the list of the defendants as the pretrial process continues.
In court were 22 of the defendants. Eight more appeared by video link from the town of Misurata on the coast to the east, while four more are released on bail. Saif al-Islam's religiosity in his court appearances to date, including pre-trial hearings in Zintan, represent yet another unexpected phase in the remarkable progression of his character over the years.
Saif al-Islam's brother Saadi Gaddafi is expected to be added to the list of the defendants as the pretrial process continues. Photo / Getty Images
Once seen as a playboy, keeping pet tigers at his holiday home and partying on yachts, he later presented himself as Libya's leading reformer, gaining a PhD from the London School of Economics and persuading his father to release political prisoners. Then, as the revolution began, he turned into the regime's highest profile mouthpiece, threatening to pursue protesters until they were crushed.
The case was adjourned to May 11.