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Libya

    May 21, 2014

    The Libyan authorities must immediately surrender Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face trial on charges of crimes against humanity, Amnesty International said, following the Court’s decision to proceed with his prosecution.

    A majority of the ICC Appeals Chamber today rejected all four grounds of appeal brought by the Libyan government and upheld an earlier decision of the Pre Trial Chamber that Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi should be tried by the ICC. The reasons for the refusal include the government’s failure to demonstrate that he was facing substantially the same case nationally as he would face at the ICC.

    “The ICC Appeals Chamber’s decision marks a crucial step towards delivering justice to the victims of crimes against humanity during the Libyan uprising in 2011 and the ensuing armed conflict. The Libyan authorities must now immediately surrender Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi to the ICC so his trial can finally get under way,” said Solomon Sacco, Senior Legal Adviser at Amnesty International.

    April 26, 2014

    Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi and Libya’s former intelligence chief, Abdallah al-Senussi, are among 37 former government officials who are standing trial in Libya on charges relating to the 2011 uprising and subsequent armed conflict. Their court proceedings – via video link for some of the defendants – resumes on Sunday, 27 April.

    Libya has repeatedly insisted it is able to ensure a fair trial for all defendants. However, Amnesty International has serious doubts about the capacity of Libya’s judiciary to guarantee a fair trial for former members of the al-Gaddafi regime.

    The International Criminal Court (ICC) has also charged Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi and Abdallah al-Senussi with crimes against humanity.

    On 14 April a court ordered that Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, who remains in militia custody, and six other defendants held in Misratah may be tried via video link, a move that will seriously undermine their rights to a fair trial. For further information see: Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link.

    April 14, 2014

    The trial of former Libyan officials, including Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, risks descending into a farce after the court ordered today that he and six other defendants be tried via video link, said Amnesty International.

    On 23 March, a day before the last hearing in this case, two amendments were made to Libya’s Code of Criminal Procedure to allow hearings via video link. 

    The trials by video link will infringe all the seven defendants’ rights to a fair trial. The impact on Saif al-Islam’s case is of particular concern as he remains held in a secret location in Zintan by a militia that has repeatedly refused to hand him over to state custody in Tripoli. The other six defendants are held in Misratah in prisons under the control of the Ministries of Justice and Defence. 

    February 27, 2014

    Two politicians could be sentenced to death over a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam when a verdict is issued in their case on Sunday 2 March, said Amnesty International.

    The organization is calling for the charges against them to be dropped immediately.

    The cartoon, which depicts a group of men discussing the role of women in society, appeared on a Libyan National Party electoral campaign poster in the main streets of Libyan cities ahead of parliamentary elections in 2012.

    “It is shocking that two political figures may face a firing squad over a cartoon that was published on an electoral campaign poster. No one should be prosecuted for freely expressing his or her views in public – however offensive they may seem to others,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

    “Libyans must be free to speak their minds, regardless of whether those views are expressed verbally, or appear on a poster, in a poem or a newspaper article. It is ludicrous that doing so could be considered a crime punishable by death.”

    February 12, 2014

    Mounting curbs on freedom of expression are threatening the rights Libyans sought to gain by overthrowing Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, said Amnesty International ahead of the third anniversary of the 2011 Libyan uprising.

    In the latest move to stifle dissent across Libya, the authorities have consolidated a Gaddafi-era law that criminalizes insults to the state, its emblem or flag.  The amended version of Article 195 of the Penal Code outlaws all criticism of the ‘17 February Revolution’ or insults to officials. An almost identical law drafted under al-Gaddafi banned all acts regarded as an attack against the Great Fateh Revolution and its leader.

    “Three years ago Libyans took to the streets to demand greater freedom, not another authoritarian rule,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    “What is the difference between not being able to criticize al-Gaddafi’s ‘Al-Fateh Revolution’ or the '17 February Revolution’? Behind both is the idea that expression is limited and some issues of taboo.”

    January 22, 2014

    A writer and political commentator who was a prisoner of conscience under Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi’s rule, has now fallen foul of Libya’s transitional authorities after making statements deemed offensive to prominent political figures during a television appearance, said Amnesty International.

    Jamal al-Hajji was convicted of defamation on 31 December 2013 and sentenced to eight months in prison and a fine of 400,000 Libyan Dinar [approximately 318,650 USD].  During an interview in February 2013 on al-Wataniya, a local Libyan television channel, he accused the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Abulaziz and five other politicians and public figures of conspiring against Libya and the “17 February Revolution”. Four of them lodged a complaint against Jamal al-Hajji. His appeal hearing is scheduled for Thursday 23 January.

    “No one should be sent to prison for expressing their views. Free expression is one of the rights Libyans took to the streets to reclaim during the 2011 uprising against Muammar al-Gaddafi,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

    December 09, 2013

    Libya’s authorities must urgently investigate the death of a soldier who was tortured to death last week following 10 hours of interrogation by his own army unit, said Amnesty International.

    Hussein Radwan Raheel, 37, who served with the Saiqa Forces, an elite army unit under the Ministry of Defence, was severely beaten and subjected to electric shocks, family members told Amnesty International. A forensic report and photos of his body seen by the organization also indicate that he was tortured.

    “Torture and ill-treatment were routinely used by the state to terrorize the Libyan people under al-Gaddafi’s brutal rule. The Libyan authorities must show that the country has made a clean break with the past by sending a strong message that human rights violations by state officials will no longer be tolerated,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

    November 21, 2013

    The Libyan authorities must actively protect protesters from attacks by armed militia during ongoing demonstrations this week or risk further bloodshed, Amnesty International said today.

    The Head of the Tripoli Local Council has called on Tripoli’s residents to pursue a general strike until all armed groups leave the city. Large demonstrations are planned for this Friday in Tripoli’s Al Quds Square. Activists have also called for demonstrations outside militia compounds.

    The calls follow the deaths of 43 individuals and hundreds of injured, including children as young as 11 at a peaceful demonstration and subsequent clashes in Gharghour area of Tripoli on 15 November.

    “The Libyan authorities must guarantee that protesters taking to the streets on Friday will be protected from violence by militias. Anything short of that could result in a new tragedy,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    October 23, 2013

    The Libyan authorities must urgently find a durable solution to end the continued forcible displacement of tens of thousands of Tawarghas and other communities, from their hometown during the armed conflict of 2011, said Amnesty International.

    The entire inhabitants of the town of Tawargha – some 40,000 people - were driven out by armed groups from Misratah who accused them of supporting Colonel al-Gaddafi’s government. An Amnesty International briefing Barred from their Home, published on the second anniversary of the end of the conflict, highlights the continued discrimination, abductions and arbitrary detention of the Tawargha, who still face threats and reprisal attacks at the hand of militias acting above the law.

    “Two years after the conflict, Tawarghas and other displaced communities are still waiting for justice and effective reparations for the abuses they have suffered. Many continue to face discrimination and live in under resourced camps with no solution in sight,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

    September 18, 2013

    The Libyan authorities should immediately hand Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi and former intelligence chief Abdallah al-Senussi to the International Criminal Court (ICC) said Amnesty International.  

    The organization met both detainees last week ahead of the referral of their case to the Indictment Chamber in Tripoli on 19 September. Al-Gaddafi and al-Senussi are wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity but the Libyan authorities are insisting that they stand trial in Libya.

    Their case has been referred to the Indictment Chamber along with those of 36 others accused of crimes related to the armed conflict.

    “The referral of these cases to the Indictment Chamber brings us one step closer to the start of national trial proceedings for Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, in violation of Libya’s legal obligation to surrender him to the ICC,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahrahoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    September 03, 2013

    The abduction of ‘Anoud al-Senussi, the daughter of military intelligence chief under al-Gaddafi, Abdallah al-Senussi, upon her release from prison in Tripoli raises serious concerns about her safety and the Libyan authorities’ ability to protect detainees held since the 2011 armed conflict, Amnesty International said.

    ‘Anoud al-Senussi was abducted by unknown assailants at approximately 5:00 pm on 2 September outside Al-Baraka prison, formerly known as al-Ruwaimi prison, as the judicial police escorted her to Tripoli International Airport. Upon her release – which the authorities had been delaying since 8 August out of fears for her security – she had planned to meet relatives before flying out to Sabha in southern Libya.

    August 02, 2013

    Hundreds of former soldiers and supporters of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi are at increased risk of the death penalty, said Amnesty International, following the sentencing of a former minister in al-Gaddafi’s government to death.

    Ahmad Ibrahim, a former Education Minister in al-Gaddafi’s government, was sentenced to death by the Misratah Court of Appeals on Wednesday 31 July along with five other men. He was charged with incitement to discord and civil war and undermining state security during the conflict.  

    Thousands of detainees are being held in relation to the 2011 conflict, including members of al-Gaddafi’s former security forces and others perceived as loyalists. Many are in danger of receiving similar sentences as courts process their cases in the coming months.

    “While the victims of war crimes and human rights violations have the right to see justice being done, justice must not turn into revenge. The trials of former al-Gaddafi loyalists are a test for Libya’s judicial system,” said Philip Luther, Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    June 20, 2013

    The Libyan authorities must act immediately to end the indefinite detention of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants, including children, solely for immigration purposes, Amnesty International said in a new briefing published today, 20 June 2013, World Refugee Day.
    The briefing, Scapegoats of Fear: Rights of Refugees, Asylum-Seekers and Migrants Abused in Libya, highlights the unacceptable treatment of thousands of foreign nationals, many from sub-Saharan Africa, who are subjected to arbitrary arrests and held for long periods in deplorable conditions at immigration detention facilities described by the Libyan authorities as “holding centres”, with no immediate prospect of release or redress in sight.
    Amnesty International visited seven “holding centres” in April and May this year and found evidence of ill-treatment, in some cases amounting to torture. Many detainees were also denied medical care and some were slated for deportation on medical grounds.

    June 14, 2013

    The Libyan authorities must drop charges against two politicians who published a cartoon on women’s rights deemed to be offensive to Islam, Amnesty International said today.

    Libyan National Party policy manager Ali Tekbali and Fathi Sager, the party’s secretary general, are due to appear in court this Sunday, 16 June at the Criminal Court in Tripoli .They are facing the death penalty over a cartoon calling for gender equality and women’s rights that was circulated on an electoral campaign poster last June.

    The cartoon features a group of men discussing the role of women in Libyan society, including a bearded character. That same character appeared as the Prophet Muhammad three months later in a controversial anti-Islamic comic published by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last September. The cartoon, however, did not make any reference to the Prophet Muhammad or to Islam. 

    June 01, 2013

    Libya must comply with the decision made by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and immediately surrender Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to the Court in The Hague, said Amnesty International.

    "Libya is in transition. Its criminal justice system collapsed after the fall of the al-Gaddafi government and the country is not yet in a position where it can conduct fair trials, let alone try Saif for the crimes he is accused of committing by the ICC," said Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Law and Policy Programme.

    "Libya must comply with its obligations to surrender Saif al-Islam to the ICC and it must ensure full protection of his rights during transfer.”

    Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, son of Muammar al-Gaddafi, is charged with two counts of crimes against humanity - murder and persecution – for his alleged role in the conflict that led to the ouster of the al-Gaddafi government.

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