Tripoli's Criminal Court on Monday sentenced to death 17 suspects convicted on charges of joining ISIS and participating in the killing of 53 people in the western city of Sabratha, a statement from the country’s top prosecutor said on Monday.
The death sentences were given out to those convicted of participating in the killing of 53 people in the western city of Sabratha and for resorting violence and armed operations in Sabratha and its surroundings.
The case involved a total of 33 defendants: 17 suspects were sentenced to death, two were sentenced to life in prison and 14 people received shorter sentences.
In a separate development, Maltese authorities intercepted a group of 14 British ex-military personnel led by Jack Mann – one of Prince Harry’s closest friends – on their way to Libya last Saturday, MaltaToday reported.
It said a senior police spokesman confirmed that the group were intercepted by the authorities.
The spokesman told the newspaper that the police had suspicions that the individuals were either private military contractors or mercenaries, and had concerns about the group.
“One of the group’s leaders was Jack Mann, 40, the co-founder of Alma Risk, a private security company which identifies, develops and delivers security across the globe,” MaltaToday wrote.
It added that the company which is based in London, provides a number of security services to its clients.
According to the company’s website, its team members have backgrounds in the UK military, police and other specialised government agencies and are “thoroughly vetted and trained to deliver professional security solutions.”
A Libyan military source refused to comment on the report.
He told Asharq Al-Awat: “We have nothing to say, and we do not know anything about this group.”
According to information confirmed by the Maltese newspaper, Mann was leading a group of 14 operatives who had each arrived separately in Malta, and were scheduled to meet up at the Malta International Airport to catch a private jet flight to Libya.
It said the group was intercepted by the Maltese police, who had serious concerns over the men’s activities. The flight was subsequently cancelled.
Sources who spoke to the newspaper said the flight had been coordinated by a private individual, who was told the group were travelling to Libya to give lectures and training using airsoft guns – replica toy guns used in airsoft sports which shoot “BBs.”
However, the sources said the coordinator found that their claims of planning to carry out training in the North African country were not true. The flight coordinator also found fake certificates which were to be awarded for the supposed training.
After Maltese police intervened, the authorities temporarily confiscated the group’s passports, and the men were read a statement by border police regarding concerns about the nature of their trip, while being advised to leave the country.
Later, information was subsequently provided to the United Nations to confirm the nature of the trip as being for medical training, and not of any sanctioned activity, MaltaToday said.
It added that no charges have been filed against the group, which has already left the country.
“The group were, however, forbidden from using Maltese airspace to travel to Libya,” the newspaper affirmed.
Mann, who is a close friend of Prince Harry and a Sandhurst contemporary, served in the Blues and Royals in Iraq and Afghanistan before moving into the private security industry.