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Libya Watch For Human Rights
Sunday, 11 April, 2004

Letter To The President Of The European Union

8th April 2004

The Right Honorable Mr. Brite Herin
President of the European Union and the Prime Minster of the Republic of Ireland

Dear Mr. PM,
The only moral justification that remained valid after the invasion of Iraq, when all else failed, was the liberation of the Iraqi people from a dictator who had no regard for the rights or freedoms of his subjects. Indeed the coalition congratulated themselves on having saved the Iraqi people from the dungeons of the dark ages of Sadam Hussein and stopped the inhuman suffering and the further abuse to which the Iraqis burdened under for over two decades. The media re-enforced this by reporting the discoveries of countless of mass graves and enlightened us on the numerous techniques used to torture members of the opposition (and supporters and friends and relatives) of Sadam Hussein. The media, also made a comparison between the life style of Sadam and family and the millions of deprived Iraqis, especially after the UN sanctions imposed after the 1991 war (Desert Storm) and which resulted in the death of over HALF a MILLION Iraqi Child due to lack of basic medical care or medicine. This situation has prompted officials from both sides of the Atlantic to declare that "Never again" would the civilized world stand by and do nothing while such atrocities are committed against the human rights and basic freedoms of ANY PEOPLE.

Mr. Prime Minister, the Libya leadership have been praised recently for their announcement that they will dismantle their WMD programme and indeed, they proceeded to do so. The Libyan Authorities have also committed themselves to pay compensation for the horrendous Lockerbie bombing in 1988, the worst terrorist incident on UK territory. (These compensations will be taken from the Livelihoods of the Libyan People who already suffer financially). This resulted in the UN Security Council's decision to lift sanctions against Libya. Yet, the human rights file of the Libyan Authority is hardly ever mentioned.

As a Human rights organization concerned with monitoring and reporting human rights abuses in Libya and upholding and defending the human rights of the Libyan people, we welcome any move towards improving the human rights situation in Libya. However, we feel that, even though the Libyan authorities have come a long way in improving its political and international image, its human rights file leaves a lot to be desired. The Libyan authorities continue to abuse the basic freedoms of the Libyan people (i.e. hundreds of prisoners of conscience languish in the Libyan prisons) and legitimize their action through a number of legislations and laws that are in direct conflict with all human rights protocols and declarations, to many of which Libya is a co-signer.

Yesterday, we have received information, from eye witnesses, confirming that an appeal hearing (which is ongoing for two years) of scores of professionals and students charged in connection with the banned Libyan Islamic Group, Al-Jama Al-Islamya Al-Libiya (Muslim Brotherhood) was held today before the People's Court at the Police academy in Tripoli, Libya. This group is renowned for its peaceful activities and is not known to have used or advocated violence.The appeal hearing was held this morning and after a few minutes of its reconvening the judge decided to adjourn to the 25 th of November 2004.In expression of their objection to their continuous imprisonment and further adjournment of their appeal hearing, the accused held a demonstration inside the court and refused to leave. Security forces were then called to the courts and proceeded to surround the building.

Amnesty International has recently concluded a field visit to Libya on 28th February 2004 and issued a report in which it criticized the People’s Court and confirmed that this court is in breach of Libyan law and international standards and that it lacked credibility. In the same report, Amnesty International called on the Libyan government to release all prisoners of conscience and specifically referred to the Muslim Brotherhood prisoners and asked for the abolishment of certain laws which stand in contradiction of human rights and international laws. Our concern is that this appeal adjournment, now running in its third year is nothing but a delay tactic employed by the Libyan authorities so as to sort out their foreign discrepancies with the West while continuing to run their internal affairs with a fist of steel causing untold suffering to their people and abusing the human rights of their subjects.

The Libyan authorities have, over three decades, totally disregarded the principles of freedom and basic human rights. The following are some of the most important aspects of the Libyan regime’s gross violation of human rights which are still in force to the date of writing this letter.

1. Libya continues to enforce laws which provide cover and immunity for all forms of political, social and economic injustice. Such laws are in total breach of all international human rights conventions. Most notorious is law No. 71 prohibiting the formations of parties for the year 1972. This law practically bans any person from forming any political, social or charitable organisation or group based on any ideology other than that of the 1st of September's revolution. The punishment handed down under this law is death. The law also punishes any person who, in any way, associates with, helps or knows of such a group.

2. The Libyan regime continues to maintain a structure where the three powers [the legislative, the executive and the judiciary] all overlap in such an unconstitutional manner as to render it impossible to call culprits to account and bring to justice violators of human rights in Libya. The importance of some form of legal protection for human rights cannot be overemphasized if we are to avert the situation where some people are forced to resort to violent means to resist dictatorship and oppression.

3. The Libyan regime is perpetuating the status quo where corrupt personalities and institutions, who have been implicated in serious human rights violations during the last three decades WORLDWIDE, are allowed to continue exercising their illegal and grossly abusive practices TO THE EXTENT THAT SOME HOLD KEY POSITION WITHIN THE HIERARCHY OF THE GOVERNMENT.

4. The Libyan regime continues to detain hundreds of prisoners of conscience without any fair or just trials. These include a big sector of dissident students, intellectuals, professionals, military officers, civil servants and religious leaders who are detained for their political views and opinions. They are usually held without charges, receive no fair hearing and are granted no rights to due process. It has equally been turning a deaf ear to the repeated appeals to investigate the disappearance and death of a large numbers of detainees at the infamous Abu Sleem prison. The fact that Libya has now won itself the reputation of serving the longest prison sentences in the world to some of its political prisoners speaks volumes of its appalling human rights record.

When WPC Yvonne Fletcher was gunned down by an official from the Libyan Embassy in the Centre of London, the British people were rightly shocked and surprised at such disregard to human life. If the Libyan Authority can do this on British soil you can imagine how they may treat their political opponents back home.

Mr. Jack Straw stated that "Libya's decision to comply with these demands is the result of patient but firm diplomacy based on some clear points of principle. It demonstrates that terrorists will be brought to justice. It shows that it is possible to resolve serious issues through commitment, dialogue and co-operation" And as Mr. Blair has also said that ""It shows that problems of proliferation can, with good will, be tackled through discussion and engagement, to be followed up by the responsible international agencies." And "We have only ever wanted to make peace in our world lasting and stable, built on sure foundations, peace for PEOPLE of all faiths, all cultures, and all nations who desire the good of their citizens and the wider world".

We, therefore on behalf of the thousands of Libyans suffering untold hardship and abuses to their basic rights beseech you to champion their cause and to bring to the attention of All the European States, their delegates, prime ministers and concerned officials, the suffering of the Libyan people and these prisoners of conscience and to bring to bear upon the Libyan regime in a very stern manner, the urgent and unconditional need to bring about the following BASIC and INITIAL improvements to its human rights situation:

a) To compel the ruling authorities in Libya to respect and implement all international treaties regarding Human Rights to which it is a co-signer.b) To release, without any condition or discrimination, all political prisoners and all prisoners of conscience (In particular those who have been sentenced to death, See attachment)

c) To investigate immediately the deaths of countless of Libyan citizens who have perished in prison and whose cause of death and place of burial are not known to date.

d) To investigate the circumstance behind the crash of the Libyan airline that was on an internal flight between Benghazi and Tripoli. Eyewitnesses claim that this plane was shot down by a missile fired by a jet fighter.

e) To abolish all laws pertaining to aggression and which permit the state to practise these abuses on a wide scale upon its citizens.

f) To initiate an independent investigation into the mass murder of hundreds of prisoners of conscience in the infamous Abu Sleem prison.

g) To remove all personal involved in Human Rights abuses from official government judicial posts and to investigate their involvement in such abuses with a view to punish those found guilty and compensate those who suffered at their hands.

Mr. Prime minister, we would like to take this opportunity to offer our willingness to explain our cause to any European government or organisation in person and would welcome an opportunity to present the suffering of the Libyan people to the European Parliament.

Yours sincerely
Mohamed Abdulmalek

Personal Profile

Name: Abdullah Ahmad Izideen
Date of birth: 1950
Place of birth: Gadamis – Libya
Marital Status: Married with 4 children
- Received primary and secondary education in home town of Gedamis
- Studied high school in the city of Gerian
- Received BA in physics in 1973 from Tripoli University
- Travelled to United States to study for Masters and PhD in nuclear physics at Iowa State University
- An active member of the Islamic Brotherhood Group in Libya until his detention on 07/06/1998, together with a large number of activists in that groupSentenced to death on 16/02/2002 in the Libyan People’s Court.

Personal Profile

Name: Salem Mohamed Abo Hanek
Date of birth: 1957
Place of birth: Benghazi – Libya
Marital Status: Married with 5 children
- Received primary and secondary education in home town of Benghazi
- Studied high school in the city of Benghazi
- Received BA in Chemistry in 1980 from Garyounis University
- Travelled to United Kingdom to study for Masters and PhD in Chemistry at Salford University, Manchester
- An active member of the Islamic Brotherhood Group in Libya until his detention on 07/06/1998, together with a large number of activists in that group
- Sentenced to death on 16/02/2002 in the Libyan People’s Court.

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