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The Libyan League For Human Rights

Sunday, 19 March, 2006

Threat to the Right to Life of Libyans in Jordan

His excellency Dr Hamza Haddad
Minister of Justice,
Hachemite Kingdom of Jordan
Amman, Jordan

19 March 006


Subject: Threat to the Right to Life of Libyans in Jordan

The Libyan League for Human Rights (LLHR) has learned with deep regret the execution of Mr. Salem Saad Bensouid, a Libyan citizen. It condemns, regardless of the charges brought against him, the execution that the LLHR considers incompatible with and contrary to the principles of Human Rights which are essentially based on the necessity to ensure full respect for the right to life without which all other rights are of no value. The violation, by the Jordanian Government, of the right to life of Mr. Bensouid has caused much resentment and indignation among Libyans, especially that the execution was carried out by a Government that had previously assisted in and participated, directly or indirectly, into the killing of other Libyans. In early 2000, the Jordanian Government extradited seven Libyan refugees; six of them were married to Jordanian families, to Libya where five of them, at least, were reportedly executed without trial. It is worth noting that the mere request of asylum by Libyans is considered by the Libyan "revolutionary" law as a crime punishable by death.


At the time of its establishment in March 1989, the League adopted the slogan “Everyone has the right to life” and has since been promoting that slogan with a view to ensuring that it is put into practice through the abolition of all forms of the death penalty throughout the world. In fact, Mr. Mansour Rashid Kikhia, one of the League’s most active founding members, who was kidnapped in Cairo in 1993 and may have been extradited to Libya, lost his freedom and possibly his life as a result of his promotion of this slogan. The League’s diligent defence of the right to life, without which all other rights are meaningless, stems from its awareness of the widespread contempt for human life in the Arab region where people, in most of its countries, are deprived of the protection of an independent judiciary. However, the question of the death penalty is not confined solely to the region; it has become a matter of international concern to the extent that abolition of this penalty is now a prerequisite for membership of the European Union. Moreover, the international community’s uneasiness concerning the odious practice of the death penalty was given tangible expression in 1983 when the United Nations General Assembly appointed a special rapporteur to examine and monitor issues relating to execution. This was the first time that the United Nations had appointed a rapporteur to study a specific form of violation of human rights at the international level. The Security Council resolutions establishing international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (1993) and Rwanda (1994) also totally excluded the death penalty and designated a term of imprisonment as the sole penalty that those tribunals could impose in respect of genocide and crimes against humanity. Independent human rights organizations have long been striving to secure the abolition of the death penalty and played a leading role in ensuring the exclusion of the death penalty from the statutes of the International Criminal Court. Since life is not compensable, the League has diligently endeavoured, together with various organizations and personalities, to secure the abolition of the death penalty in order to ensure full respect for the right to life without which all other rights are of no value


The Libyan League for Human rights harbors only respect and esteem to his majesty King Abdallah whom we consider as a model of modern ruler. We expect from a government such as the government of Jordan more comprehension, understanding and discernment when dealing with Libyan refugee cases even when, in moment of depression and weakness, some may resort to violence. Libyans heads for Jordan as they believe that the margin of freedom and respect of human rights is such that it allows for civilized exchange of view and thought. We hope for deeper comprehension by the Government of the situation of Libyans in Jordan through avoiding and refraining from violating their right to life directly through execution as in the case of Mr. Bensouid or indirectly through extradition.


Soliman Bouchuiguir
Secretary General

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