|Libyan Canadian Committee for Civic Liberties and Human Rights|
Promoting Civil Liberties by Defending Human Rights
December 15, 2004
Mr. Khaled Elghul
12 Queen St. Suite 206
St. Catharines, ON L2R 5G3
The Right Honourable Paul Martin
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Dear Prime Minister:
At LCC-CLHR, we welcome your visit to Libya to improve relations between our two countries and to solicit contracts for Canadian companies. However, we have some concerns and would like to bring them to your attention before your visit. Muammar Qadhafi may show the world that he has abandoned terrorism but he is still terrorizing the Libyan people. Libyans are not able to practice democracy - they cannot voice their opinion, and they are not permitted to establish organizations that call for reform. The death penalty is still the law for any people who gather secretly or publicly, or who establish an organization that calls for reform. Many Libyan Canadians, who proudly and freely participate in the democratic process and civil society in Canada, are not able to go to Libya or to speak freely against the unjust Qadhafi government in fear of harm to their families.
On December 7, 2004, the Qadhafi government blocked a scheduled visit by a delegate from a Human Rights Watch research team by denying the necessary visa. In light of that action, Human Rights Watch issued a press release (copy and web Link included with this letter). In this press release they stated, “The United States and European Union have rewarded Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi and the Libyan government for renouncing terrorism and weapons of mass destruction by lifting sanctions and trade embargoes. Heads of state and business leaders have flocked to Tripoli in recent months as the economy slowly reforms. But internal repression remains intense. Libyan law bans independent political parties, associations and media. Torture is common, and hundreds of political prisoners are behind bars after trials that were deeply flawed. “
To confirm that the Libyan government is unchanged towards Human Rights and Civil Liberty, Amnesty International, in their press release on December 1, 2004 titled, “Libya: Confirmation of sentencing of prisoners of conscience is a step backwards” said, “The decision by the People's Court of Appeal to uphold scores of sentences, including two death sentences, issued today is a new blow to freedom of _expression and association in Libya…… Death sentences against two university professors, Salem Abu Hanak and Abdullah Ahmed 'Izzedin, handed down at first instance in 2002, were upheld on appeal…... Some 83 prisoners of conscience, sentenced in the same case in 2002 to prison terms ranging between 10 years and life imprisonment, also had their sentences confirmed…. These men should not have been tried in the first place. We are shocked by the decision to uphold the sentences against these prisoners of conscience and call for their immediate and unconditional release." (Full copy of Amnesty International press release is included with letter).
We, Mr. Martin, believe the statements of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International about Qadhafi policies in Libya are suffice to confirm human rights abuse in Libya.
We at Libyan Canadian committee for Human Civic Liberties and Human Rights (LCC-CLHR) call upon our Prime Minster Paul Martin to raise the following points during his visit to Libya and his meeting with Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi:
1- To urge Qadhafi to release all prisoners of conscience, including all 83 people who the court upheld the sentences on December 1, 2004 as stated in the Amnesty International press release on December 1, 2004. (See Copy and web link after the end of the letter).
2- To release Fathi al-Jahmi who George Bush personally mentioned him in White House gathering. The release of Fathi al-Jahmi includes his freedom of expression and his stand for democracy.
3- The release of Ali Sadegh Elhouni the father of two Canadian Citizens (at amnesty International report the name spelled as Ali Al-Sadiq Al-Huni).
4- The right of Libyans who opposed Qadhafi previously and who have taken political asylum in western countries, to return unconditionally without harm to Libya and to be allowed to practice their democratic rights that they enjoyed in the countries where they have resided.
Not including the above requests in your agenda, would be damaging to Canada’s reputation among Libyans and the rest of the world; would not reflect Canada’s principles, values and its commitment to protect universal human rights everywhere. However, including these points in your visit will be a strong step forward in cultivating human rights for Libyans and a minimum standard of human rights for all global citizens.
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