5 October 2006
1. On 10 October, the world will celebrate the World Day against the Death Penalty. On this occasion the Libyan League for Human Rights calls on all Libyans, in particular on Libya’s lawyers, other members of the legal profession, families of victims of death penalties, media and human rights Defenders, to participate in this celebration through the organization of debates, seminars and other peaceful events to mobilize and gather support to the movement for the abolition of the death penalty in Libya and to create awareness about this cruel punishment which violates the very foundation of human value and dignity.
2. The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. It violates the right to life without which all other rights become meaningless. It is irrevocable and can be inflicted on the innocent. The assertion that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than other punishments has been largely discredited by the lack of scientific evidence despite the many studies that have been made. It is also impossible to determine whether those executed would actually have repeated the crimes of which they were convicted. Execution entails taking the lives of prisoners to prevent hypothetical future crimes many of which would never have been committed anyway. It negates the principle of rehabilitation of offenders.
3. In Libya death penalty has been and continues to be used as a tool of political repression to silence political opponents or to eliminate physically "troublesome" individuals as it happened in 1970s and 1980s when special courts presided over by military officers and members of the “Revolutionary Committees” issued, following unfair and expeditious trials, score of death penalties . The League has no doubt that those who have been put to death during that period will be, one day or another, officially recognized as innocent victims. Meanwhile the possibility of misusing the death penalty will remain as long as it is accepted as a legitimate form of punishment. Only abolition can ensure that such political abuse of the death penalty will never occur. We take this opportunity to call, once more, on the Libyan authorities to take the necessary steps to abolish the death penalty and to put immediately a moratorium on its legal application. The requirement of respect for human rights has to include the abolition of the death penalty. It is not possible for a government to respect human rights and retain the death penalty at the same time.
5 Ocrober 2006