Libya condemns 45 to death for 2011 demo killings: ministry

A Libyan court on Wednesday sentenced to death by firing squad 45 militiamen for killing demonstrators in Tripoli during the 2011 uprising against dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the justice ministry said.

Dozens of demonstrators were killed on August 21, 2011 when pro-regime militiamen opened fire near the Abu Slim district of the capital as rebel forces closed in on the capital, eight months into a NATO-backed revolt.

The ministry said in a statement that 54 other defendants were sentenced to five years in jail, 22 were acquitted, and three others had died before the verdict was reached.

Gaddafi, who had ruled the country since a 1969 coup, was killed in October 2011 near his hometown of Sirte, south of the capital.