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Armed men abducted Mansour Atti, a journalist, blogger and head of the Red Crescent Committee and of the Civil Society Commission in Ajdabiya, on 3 June 2021 near his workplace in Ajdabiya, in northeastern Libya. Since then, his family have received no information about his fate and whereabouts, amid credible reports that he is being held by an armed group in eastern Libya. Prior to his abduction, Mansour Attia had been subjected to repeated questioning about his activism by the Internal Security Agency-Ajdabiya, an armed group affiliated to the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF), a powerful armed group in de facto control of eastern Libya.
Given the well-documented pattern of armed groups in eastern Libya subjecting individuals in their custody to torture and other ill-treatment with impunity, we believe that he is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. According to eyewitnesses, around 7:00pm, armed men alighted from three vehicles and seized Mansour Atti from a street near his workplace. Since then, his family received no information about his fate and whereabouts, despite sending written appeals to the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) and affiliated armed groups, as well as the head of the Ajdabiya Security Directorate, which is nominally under the Ministry of Interior. Until August, armed groups active in Ajdabiya and security forces nominally under the control of the Ministry of Interior denied having him in custody. According to informed sources, in August, a commander in the 302nd Battalion, an armed group affiliated with the LAAF, confirmed in a private gathering between local tribal leaders and armed groups that Mansour Atti was in their custody but refused to indicate his exact location or allow his relatives to visit or otherwise communicate with him.
According to an informed source and written appeals by Mansour Atti’s family addressed to commanders of armed groups in control of territory in eastern Libya as well as the Ministry of Interior, examined by Amnesty International, the Internal Security Agency-Ajdabiya, an armed group affiliated with the LAAF, had summoned Mansour Atti for questioning several times prior to his abduction and questioned him about his activism.
Mansour Atti was involved in efforts to ensure that the parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for 24 December take place in an environment free of repression and coercion.
Write to the Colonel General urging him to:
- provide information on Mansour Atti’s whereabouts
- instruct armed groups operating under the command of the Libyan Arab Armed Forces to immediately release him.
- Pending his release, allow him access to his family, adequate medical care and protection from torture and other ill-treatment.
(Note: Canada Post is not delivering to Libya currently -please use Twitter or Facebook if at all possible).
Colonel General Abdulrazek al-Nadoori
Supreme Commander of the Libyan Arab Armed Forces
c/o Embassy of Libya
710-170 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, ON K1P 5V5
Salutation: Dear Colonel General Abdulrazek al-Nadoori,
Since 2014, Libya has been divided between two entities and parallel institutions competing for legitimacy and territorial control. As part of a UN mediated process, 75 members of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) agreed on a roadmap to bring an end to the political crisis and appointed a Government of National Unity (GNU) in March 2021 tasked with preparing for presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 December 2021. Since then, the GNU has been struggling to exercise effective control over Libyan territory, as armed groups continue to control large swathes of Libyan territory and political divisions persisted. The political crisis deepened after the GNU faced a contentious and widely criticized vote of no-confidence by the House of Representatives (HoR), Libya’s parliament, on 21 September 2021. Several parliamentarians said that they voted against the motion of no-confidence and challenged the tally reported by media as forged. Some municipalities, particularly in the west, publicly denounced the vote. Prime Minister Abdelhamid Al-Debiba also rejected the motion and called for protests in support of the GNU, as hundreds took to the streets in protests in cities in western Libya. Following the vote, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya confirmed that the GNU remained the legitimate government and called on the HoR to focus on the preparation of the constitutional and legislative framework for the 24 December 2021 elections.
On 9 September 2021, Abdullah Belhaiq, the spokesperson for HoR, publicly announced that the HoR passed the presidential elections law. On 4 October, he further announced that the HoR passed the parliamentary elections law. A number of parliamentarians and other politicians and officials claimed
both laws were invalid, citing the absence of a parliamentary vote, other procedural irregularities and violations of the roadmap endorsed by the LPDF.
Khalifa Haftar leads the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF), an armed group which exercises effective control over large swaths of eastern and southern Libya, either directly or through allied armed groups. On 22 September 2021, Khalifa Haftar named Abdulrazek al-Nadoori as Commander of the LAAF temporarily until 24 December 2021. According to an article of the aforementioned presidential elections law, all presidential candidates must vacate their official or military posts three months ahead of the elections. Khalifa Heftar was appointed to the then newly created position of Commander of the LAAF in March 2015 by the HoR.
Armed groups and militias across Libya have been subjecting activists and human rights defenders to
attacks including abductions and other unlawful deprivation of liberty, assassinations, surveillance, death threats and other intimidation. For instance, lawyer and activist Hanan al-Barasi was shot dead on 10 November 2020 in broad daylight in the street in Bengahzi, after she denounced corruption by the LAAF and criticized one of Khalifa Hafter’s sons. In 2021, several activists told Amnesty International that they were threatened by members of various militias and armed groups affiliated with either the GNU or the LAAF,due to their activism in connection to the scheduled elections. On 26 September 2021, unknown armed men abducted Emad al-Harati, head of the National Youth League, from his Tripoli office. He had publicly called for protests in support of holding the elections as scheduled on the day of his abduction, as well as three days prior.
Amnesty International documented abductions between 2019 and 2021 by armed groups affiliated with the LAAF of residents of Ajadabiya and surrounding areas from the Magharba tribe, over their perceived affiliation to and support of Ibrahim Jadran, former leader of the Petroleum Facilities Guard, an armed group at odds with the LAAF. Former detainees told Amnesty International that they were subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, while in custody. According to Ajdabiya residents, in June 2021, armed men confiscated copies of a local newspaper that included a story on the abduction of Mansour Atti from various distribution places in the city.
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