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Libyan Court Sentences Gadhafi Son to Death

A girl watches as Saen Dao, an eight-year-old female asian elephant, and her mahout perform underwater during a show at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Chonburi south of Bangkok.

A court in Libya issued a death sentence Tuesday to Seif al-Islam, a son of Moammar Gadhafi, in connection with the deadly response to the 2011 uprising that pushed Gadhafi from power.

The Tripoli court also sentenced eight others to death, including former spy chief Abdullah al-Senoussi and former prime minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi.

Seif al-Islam was not in court Tuesday to hear the sentence. His verdict came in absentia because he is being held by a militia in the town of Zintan that backs the internationally recognized government in Tobruk and not the rival Islamist-backed government operating in Tripoli.

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said the trial was "undermined by serious due process violations" and called for an independent review by the supreme court.

Also wanted by ICC

Seif al-Islam is also wanted by the International Criminal Court on two counts of crimes against humanity. The ICC says he was the most influential person in a Gadhafi government that tried by any means, including use of deadly force, to put down popular protests.

The uprising in Libya began in February 2011 in Benghazi with riots inspired by other so-called Arab Spring revolts in Tunisia and Egypt. In March of that year, NATO launched what would be a seven-month campaign of airstrikes under a U.N. mandate to protect civilians from Libyan forces.

Gadhafi died in October as forces from the National Transitional Council overran his hometown of Sirte. Seif al-Islam was captured a month later.