Thirty-five jihadists convicted of fighting for the Islamic State group (IS) were sentenced to death Monday by a court in Libya, AFP learned from a judicial source. Thirteen others were sentenced to life imprisonment, according to the same source.
Three minors were also sentenced to ten years in prison, lawyer Lotfi Mohaychem, who represents families of people killed fighting IS, told AFP after the hearing.
In total, about fifty jihadists were convicted of murder and membership of a terrorist organization during the trial, which began in August, she said.
The verdicts were handed down by a court in Misrata, the city of which most of the fighters killed in an offensive against IS aimed at dislodging the jihadist organization from Sirte, its stronghold in northern Libya, in 2015 and 2016.
Placed in the defendants' box, dressed in blue uniforms, shaved heads and beards, the defendants appeared in a packed room, where the families of those killed during the battle for the liberation of Sirte were present.
Arrested in December 2016
Of Libyan, Sudanese or Palestinian nationality, the accused were arrested in December 2016, after the recapture of Sirte, a coastal city 450 km from Tripoli.
As lawyers for the families of the victims, we see the court's verdict as very satisfactory and very fair. The court convicted those found guilty and acquitted those against whom there was insufficient evidence," Mohaychem said.
At the reading of the verdicts, several women let their joy burst out, amid applause and youyous, chanting "God is Great" and "the blood of martyrs was not shed in vain".
IS seized Sirte in June 2015 by taking advantage of the chaos that has reigned since the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 after a popular revolt.
During their counteroffensive, the local forces had benefited from the support of the US military, which had mobilized drones, warships and fighter jets until the city was retaken.