BBC 'reports' below.
Didn't even say if the ambassadors thought the trial was fair.
21 May, 2001, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
Death sentences in Libya
been on trial
A Libyan court
has sentenced seven people to death in a case arising from bloody clashes
last year between Libyans and African immigrants.
Two of those
sentenced to death are Libyan nationals.
More than 300
were charged, most of them Libyans, but also some citizens of Nigeria,
Niger, Ghana and Chad, in what has been portrayed as the biggest political
trial in Libya in recent times.
The riots in
September led to an unknown number of deaths and severely dented the
reputation of Libya in Africa.
It was a
particular blow for the country's leader Muammar Gaddafi who had been
heavily promoting his vision of a United States of Africa.
One hundred and
sixty people were freed, with the others receiving sentences ranging from
one year up to life imprisonment.
pronounced the sentences, naming the defendants but not giving their
of several countries were present in the People's Court.
authorities did their best to play down the riots and said that only a few
immigrants were killed.
reports, including those of African diplomats, put the number killed much
The two weeks of
violence last September was sparked by a confrontation involving Chadians
and Sudanese in the town of Zawiyah west of Tripoli. Sporadic clashes
followed in Tripoli - an extremely rare event. In recent years, Libya has
been a magnet for hundreds of thousands of Africans from south of the
Sahara seeking work in Libya's oil-fuelled economy.
Just last week
the Libyans reported that a group of more than 100 Africans had died of
thirst trying to cross the Sahara desert.
There has been
considerable opposition to this wave of immigration, and dissatisfaction
with Colonel Gaddafi's pan Africanist policies among Libyans.