Melinda Taylor

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Melinda Taylor is an Australian criminal lawyer who was arrested and detained in Libya in 2012 after being assigned by the International Criminal Court to defend Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of Muammar Gaddafi.

Early life and education[edit]

Taylor is from Brisbane. She graduated from the University of Queensland with an arts/law degree in 1998.[1][2]

Career[edit]

Taylor worked as a victims' advocate and in international criminal law.[3] She worked as a researcher for Antonio Cassese, president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.[3]

Taylor helped set up the International Criminal Court's public defence counsel in 2006 and worked on defence cases before Tribunals in Yugoslavia and Rwanda.[1] She was assigned to provide assistance to Slobodan Milošević when he refused counsel during his trial.[3]

In 2012, Taylor was detained along with her interpreter Helen Assaf from Lebanon, Alexander Khodakov, a diplomat from Russia, and Esteban Peralta Losilla, a legal expert from Spain.[4][5] They were accused of spying by carrying coded documents to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, their client.[5] Taylor was accused of smuggling a miniature video camera pen and watch.[4] Taylor was arrested and although her colleagues were released, they chose to remain with her.[4][1] They were detained in the Libyan town of Zintan on 7 June.[5] It was the first time an International Criminal Court official had been seized.[4] The president of the court, Sang-Hyun Song, demanded Taylor's immediate release, claiming she had immunity as she was on an official mission.[1] Many diplomatic officials, including Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, who flew to Tripoli, lobbied for their release.[5] In order to secure her release, the court apologised to the Libyan rebels for the incident and promised to investigate Taylor and her colleagues.[6] They were released on 3 July and flown to Rome on a plane provided by the Italian government.[7]

On 17 January 2013, charges of breaching national security were brought in a Zintan court against al-Islam, and against Taylor and her colleague in absentia.[8]

In 2016, Taylor led Julian Assange's case before the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Taylor is married to Geoff Roberts, who is also an International Criminal Court lawyer, and they have one daughter. They live in The Hague, Netherlands.[5][3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Flitton, Daniel; Callinan, Rory (11 June 2012). "Melinda 'safe and well' in Libya, Carr told". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "The career of ICC lawyer Melinda Taylor". Perth now. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Detained lawyer Melinda Taylor 'woman of integrity'". news.com.au. 12 June 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d Harding, Luke; Borger, Julian; Stephen, Chris (26 June 2012). "Libya accuses Australian ICC official of passing secret letter to Gaddafi's son". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Vasek, Lanai; Rout, Milanda (3 July 2012). "Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor, freed after being held in Libya, is reunited with her family". The Australian. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  6. ^ "Melinda Taylor 'I'm free, now let's help Gaddafi's son'". The Daily Telegraph. 8 July 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  7. ^ Lamloum, Imed (3 July 2012). "Freed Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor arrives in the Netherlands". Herald Sun. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  8. ^ Cole, Peter; McQuinn, Brian (2015). The Libyan Revolution and its Aftermath. Oxford University Press. p. 167. 
  9. ^ Addley, Esther; Bowcott, Own; Crouch, David; Elgot, Jessica (6 February 2016). "Julian Assange: 'sweet' victory soured by British and Swedish rejection". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 May 2016.