Mohamed Eljahmi’s remarks at|
Amnesty International Regional Conference
October 27, 2007
Thanks for your efforts to free my brother Fathi Eljahmi. I am overwhelmed by all your efforts, especially the activities of the high school students from New Jersey who are here and working hard to help release my brother. Amnesty International has consistently supported the cause of human rights in Libya and in particular my brother’s case. I am grateful to Salem Al-Hassi, David Stamps, Josh Rubenstein, Cynthia Gabriel, Zahir Janmohamed and Sharon Singh.
My brother is a dissident, who is incommunicado in Libya because he publicly called for free speech, for free press, for rule of law and government accountability, for property rights, for free enterprise and for national reconciliation.
He was first detained in October of 2002. He was released on March 12, 2004 because U.S. Senator Joseph Biden urged Qadhafi to release him.
He was re-detained two weeks later because he continued calling for freedom in Lbya.
Fathi has been held in total incommunicado since the last week of August 2006. He is 66-year old and is in failing health. We hope he is still alive.
Is Fathi the only case in Libya?
No, but it is an important case for reform in Libya. Fathi spoke the truth to power. He spoke eloquently of Colonel Qadhafi’s narcissism. He told Al-Hurrah TV, “What is left for Qadhafi to do is hand us a prayer mat and insist we only pray to him.”
In 2003 the People’s Court sentenced Abdel Nasser Younis Meftah Al-Rabahi to 15 years in prison because he wrote to an Arab website about corruption in Libya.
In June 2005 the mutilated body of Libyan journalist Daif Al-Ghazal was found in Benghazi. His guilt, he wrote Internet articles about corruption and abuse of power in Libya.
In June 1996, some 1200 political prisoners were mass killed in the courtyard of the Abu Sleem prison in Tripoli. It is alleged that the orders to kill came directly from Colonel Qadhafi.
Despite Libya’s poor Human Rights record, Qadhafi and his son Saif believe Libyans are living in bliss. On August 8, 2007 his son Saif told Aljazeera “I am so proud of the Libyan human rights file. It is better than America’s.”
U.S. rapprochement with Libya has not helped the Libyans gain freedom but it has helped Qadhafi family launder its image in the West. The Qadhafis are using Libya’s oil money to buy PR help to influence U.S. public opinion. A recent NY Times article praised Saif’s reformist efforts but quoted no Libyan to confirm his words.
Your actions count, please keep up the pressure. We need your help to transform a flawed U.S. policy from one that appeases a dictator to one based on moral clarity.
Thank you very much.