|Work To End Gadhafi's Rule |
And Prevent Another Abu Sleem Massacre!
During a press conference at Freedom House, the American Libyan Freedom Alliance (ALFA) introduced Hussein El Shafai, former political prisoner at Abu Sleem prison, and an eyewitness to the massacre that occurred there on June 29, 1996. National/international media, human rights organizations, and other political organizations and individuals also attended the press conference. Hussein gave details of the Abu Sleem massacre, in which about 1200 political prisoners were murdered on orders of the highest-ranking security officers at the prison, who receive their instructions directly from Gadhafi. Hussein gave the names of those officers and several of the guards who executed the prisoners.
Although the Gadhafi regime has recently notified some of the families that their imprisoned relatives have died in Abu Sleem prison, with orders to keep silent about the news of their tragedies, many more of families are still living under false hopes that their loved ones have survived the massacre. We think that families, whose relatives were in the Abu Sleem prison during the massacre, could assume that their relatives are among the dead until proven otherwise. They should insist on seeing their relatives. However, if their demands are not met, they should conclude the worst, namely, the execution of their relatives.
Hussein stated that he was greatly distressed and traumatized by the events that he has witnessed and the brutalities of the regime. What is equally distressing is the silence in Libya about the crime and others like it. Hussein is courageous to come out to tell the world, to honor a commitment that he has made to his friends who perished and those he left behind in that notorious prison. More Libyans need to come out to tell their stories and to protest against Gadhafi and all those who work for him. We must simply break away from our fears and dare to protest and speak loud. We should not expect other nations to come to our aid, if we are unwilling to take risks and to demand an end to Gadhafi’s fascist regime.
Those prison guards who were forced to murder the defenseless prisoners, and feel guilt for what they have done, should disassociate themselves from the regime. All Libyan organizations will offer them all assistance that they might require, to help them to travel outside of Libya and to tell their stories. Contacts could be made with any Libyan organization, operating outside of Libya; their web sites are posted on the Internet.
Mohamed M. Bugaighis, Ph.D