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Melinda Taylor attacks Libyan authorities over her detention

Posted: 2012-07-08
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Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor has spoken publicly for the first time since being freed from detention and she`s proceeded to slam the Libyan authorities. Ms Taylor was held for more than three weeks, after she went to visit her client, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who`s been indicted for crimes against humanity.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor has spoken publicly for the first time since being freed from detention in Libya.

Ms Taylor was held for more than three weeks after she visited her client, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who's been indicted for crimes against humanity.

She was accused of spying.

Ms Taylor and three colleagues from the International Criminal Court were released earlier this week.

Speaking at a press conference in the Hague, Ms Taylor said Libyan authorities never gave her proper legal justification for her detention.

She said they've prejudiced the rights of her client, and she argues that he won't get a fair trial in Libya.

David Weber reports.

DAVID WEBER: Melinda Taylor said she was never given an order concerning the legal basis for her arrest and detention.

She said communication with the outside world was kept to a minimum.

MELINDA TAYLOR: Prosecutor general initially indicated to us that we would not be entitled to have any communications with our family or our consular representatives.

It appears that through the diplomatic initiatives of the ICC and our consular representatives we were eventually entitled to receive a monitored consular visit and one five minute conversation with our families.

DAVID WEBER: The ICC has committed to investigating the allegations made by Libyan authorities about Melinda Taylor.

It's been claimed she was spying and breaching national security by carrying coded documents to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.

MELINDA TAYLOR: I explicitly informed the Libyan authorities that if they had any concerns regarding my misconduct that they had the right to file a complaint in accordance with the procedures set out in the ICC Code of Conduct for Counsel but that I had full immunity from arrest, detention, or any other investigative action taken against me and measures taken by the Libyans in that regard would violate international law.

DAVID WEBER: Melinda Taylor said she believed her actions were consistent with her legal obligations.

She said the rights of her client were prejudiced.

MELINDA TAYLOR: Amongst other things, the Libyan authorities deliberately misled the defence concerning whether the visit with Mr Gaddafi would be monitored. They also seized documents which were covered by legal professional privilege and ICC protective orders.

It is the position of the defence that these recent events have completely underscored that it would be impossible for Mr Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to be tried in an independent and impartial manner in Libyan courts.

DAVID WEBER: Ms Taylor did say the Zintan brigade responsible for implementing the detention treated her and her colleagues with respect and dignity, and they remained attentive to their requirements.

But Ms Taylor said she remained concerned for her own safety, as well as that of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.

MELINDA TAYLOR: I hope you can all understand that in light of what has happened, the defence has serious concerns for its ongoing security. It's for this reason that I will not discuss specific details of the events or respond to media questions until the ICC has been able to conduct a proper risk assessment and I am in a better position to ascertain the implications for my client, who continues to be detained in Libya.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Melinda Taylor ending that report from David Weber.

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