Breaking her silence since being freed from detention in the remote Libyan town of Zintan, an International Criminal Court attorney said Friday it would be impossible for her client, the son of the late leader Moammar Kadafi, to get a fair trial in Libyan courts.
Melinda Taylor was one of four International Criminal Court staffers detained in Zintan for more than three weeks after meeting with the imprisoned Seif Islam Kadafi. The Australian attorney was accused of spying after allegedly handing Kadafi a coded letter from a former aide.
The four were released Monday after the court promised to investigate the allegations and said it "deeply regrets any events that may have given rise to concerns on the part of the Libyan authorities."
Libya has pressed to try the Kadafi son inside the country rather than handing him over to the war crimes court, where he faces charges of crimes against humanity. Taylor argued that the recent events underscored that Kadafi could not possibly be tried impartially in Libyan courts.
"The rights of my client … were irrevocably prejudiced during my visit to Zintan," Taylor said at a news conference Friday. "Amongst other things, the Libyan authorities deliberately misled the defense concerning whether the visit with Mr. Kadafi would be monitored. They also seized documents which were covered by legal professional privilege and ICC protective orders."
Taylor said the four had never been given a legal reason for their arrest and detention. Concerned for the security of the defense team, Taylor said she would not answer questions about the events for now, but stated that she had done nothing that violated legal or professional rules.
The court ruled in June that Libya could put off surrendering Kadafi as it weighed whether Libya was right in arguing he should be tried there. The ICC is supposed to be a court of last resort.
-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles
Video: International Criminal Court attorney Melinda Taylor addresses reporters in The Hague on Friday. Credit: Australian Broadcasting Corp./ YouTube