Letter To British Secretary Of State For The Home Department|
18 October 2005
The Right Honorable
Secretary of State for the Home Department
Mr. C. Clarke
We are writing in response to the arrests of Five Libyan nationals, four of whom have been granted leave to remain in the UK . The five arrested under the prevention of terrorism act are:
- Bashir Al Fakhi – Birmingham
- Ziad Hashim Al-Rigai – Cardiff
- Khalid Abusalama Alalagi – Birmingham
- Nasir Abu Rwag - Birmingham
- Ismail Kamouka – London
The news that the British Government is considering deporting these Libyan Nationals to Libya came as a shock and a surprise. All five are genuine refugees who have fled Libya fearing for their life from a regime whose disregard for human life and abuse of human rights is well documented. In fact the UK has had first hand experience with the total disregard of international law manifested in the horrendous Lockerbie bombing in 1988, the worst terrorist incident on UK territory and the meaningless killing of YPC Yvonne Fletcher in front of the Libyan Embassy in St James Square in Central London .
We, 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, 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) Legislations are still in place that are in direct conflict with all human rights protocols and declarations, to many of which Libya is a co-signer. These laws provide the Libyan government with a legal cover to practice all sorts of abuse against prisoners of conscience.
Our concern is that these five Libyan Nationals basic human rights are being abused by the mere detention in the UK . In Fact one of them has been found not guilty by a British court for any terrorist activities and then he was granted indefinite leave to remain. Deporting these refugees to Libya is a violation of article 3 of the European Human Rights Charter.
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 1 st 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 disregarded to human life. If the Libyan Authority can do this on British soil you can imagine how it may treat its opponents back home.
We, therefore ask you to reconsider deporting these Libyans and release them so that they may continue their lives and return to their children.
We, also ask you to
- To compel the ruling authorities in Libya to respect and implement all international treaties regarding Human Rights to which it is a co-signer.
- To release, without any condition or discrimination, all political prisoners and all prisoners of conscience.
- 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.
- 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.
- To abolish all laws pertaining to aggression and which permit the state to practise these abuses on a wide scale upon its citizens.
- To initiate an independent investigation into the mass murder of hundreds of prisoners of conscience in the infamous Abu Sleem prison.
- 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.