Taylor says she did nothing wrong in Libya

Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor says documents considered “coded” by Libyan authorities who jailed her were simply innocent doodles.


Ms Taylor was arrested with three other lawyers from the International Criminal Court (ICC) and detained for more than three weeks after travelling to Libya as a defence lawyer for Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.

She was accused by Libyan authorities of passing coded documents to Gaddafi.

After her release on Monday, Ms Taylor went straight back to work, emerging on Friday to declare in the Netherlands that her actions in Libya were consistent with legal obligations under court rules.

Ms Taylor said the papers she had were legal documents and the alleged codes were innocent items, including Gaddafi’s nickname, which could be found by keying it in to an internet search engine.

She took just one day off after her release before returning to work.

“I had some important work that needed to be done straight away,” Ms Taylor told The Weekend Australian.

The 36-year-old, originally from Brisbane, said at a press conference her ordeal in the town of Zintan, where she was held by guards with AK47 rifles, showed Gaddafi would not receive a fair trial.

“The rights of my client were irrevocably prejudiced,” Ms Taylor told reporters on Friday.

The detained group of four from the ICC were treated with respect and dignity and their Libyan captors were attentive to their requirements.

“Nonetheless, during these 26 days of detention we were never provided with an order or a decision concerning the legal basis for our arrest or detention or for the search and seizure of confidential ICC documents,” Ms Taylor said.

The group was eventually allowed a monitored consular visit and she was allowed a five-minute phone call home to her husband, Geoff Roberts, and her daughter, Yasmina.

“As you can imagine, speaking with my two-year-old daughter under such circumstances was both an emotional lifeline and heart-breaking,” Ms Taylor said.

She said her captors had not explained the “breach of Libya’s promise to the ICC” to allow a privileged visit to Seif al-Islam Gaddafi.

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