Annual Report: Libya 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Libya 2010

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  • Jamal el-Haji and Faraj Saleh Hmeed, detained since February 2007 for attempting to organize a peaceful demonstration, were released on 10 March. Jamal el-Haji was arrested on 9 December and charged with insulting the judiciary after he complained about his treatment in detention.
  • Fathi el-Jahmi, a renowned critic of the political system detained as a prisoner of conscience almost continuously since March 2002, during which he had access to only sporadic and inadequate medical care, was flown from Libya to Jordan for urgent medical treatment on 5 May. He died on 21 May. No independent investigation was known to have been opened by the Libyan authorities into the circumstances leading to the deterioration of his health and the cause and circumstances of his death.
  • Abdelnasser al-Rabbasi, arrested in January 2003 and serving a 15-year prison sentence for "undermining the prestige of the Leader of the revolution" for writing an email critical of Mu'ammar al- Gaddafi to the Arab Times newspaper, remained in Abu Salim Prison.
  • 'Adnan el-'Urfi, a lawyer, was arrested on 9 June following his call to the radio programme Good Evening Benghazi in May, in which he recounted human rights violations endured by one of his clients and criticized Libya's judicial system. He was cleared of all charges by a court in Benghazi in September. The prosecution appealed; he remained at liberty pending the outcome of the appeal.

Counter-terror and security

The imprisoned leadership of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) was reported to have renounced violence following continued negotiations with the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation (GDF), headed by Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi. In March, the GDF announced that 136 members had been released over the previous two years. Forty-five more members were released in October, along with 43 others alleged to be members of "jihadist" groups. The GDF published a list of those released in October, calling on the Secretary of the General People's Committee to assist their social reintegration.

  • In June, Muhammad Hassan Abou Sadra, a victim of arbitrary detention according to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, was released after more than 20 years.
  • Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda and Abdesalam Safrani, who were returned from detention at Guantánamo Bay by the US authorities in September 2007 and December 2006 respectively, continued to be detained at Abu Salim Prison. The Libyan authorities refused to disclose their legal status. Three other Libyan nationals held at Guantánamo Bay were cleared for release by US authorities in September but had not been returned to Libya by the end of the year.
  • Abdelaziz Al-Fakheri, also known as Ibn Al Sheikh Al Libi, was reported to have committed suicide in Abu Salim Prison on 9 May. He had been returned to Libya in late 2005 or early 2006 after detention by US forces as a terror suspect and had been continuously detained since his return. The authorities said they had opened an investigation and said later that he had committed suicide but provided no details.
  • Mahmoud Mohamed Aboushima, suspected of belonging to the LIFG, who was arrested in July 2005 shortly after returning from the UK, remained in Abu Salim Prison at the end of 2009 despite a High Court ruling of July 2007 confirming a lower court order that he be released.

Migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers

The authorities continued to detain suspected irregular migrants, some of whom were reported to have been ill-treated, and thousands of whom were subsequently deported. The authorities also failed to afford the protection required by international law to refugees and asylum-seekers. In May, the Italian authorities began to send irregular migrants intercepted at sea to Libya, where they were detained. UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said that by September it had granted refugee status to 206 of the 890 people sent back from Italy to Libya whose cases it had examined. In November, UNHCR's Libyan partner organization announced plans to open health clinics in four detention centres.