|Kofi Annan, Secretary-General|
United Nations Headquarters
First Avenue & 46 th Street
New York, New York 1007
1 Easton Street
London, WC1X ODW
The UN Commissioner For Human Rights
United Nationa Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10
Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue, 34 FloorNew York, NY 1007Deputy Assistant SecretaryBureau of Democracy, Human Rights and LaborDepartment of State2201 C Street, N.W., Room 7802Washington, D.C. 20520___________________________________(*)
July 7, 2005
Kofi Annan, Secretary-General
The United Nations Headquarters
First Avenue at 46th Street
New York, NY 10017
The American Libyan Freedom Alliance (ALFA) was founded on September 29, 2003, and registered in the State of Virginia as an American NGO. The declared mission of ALFA is to promote the following ideals: international awareness of Libyan culture and tradition, democracy in Libya, rule of law, human rights, and to hold accountable all abusers of those rights. Since its inception, the issue of human rights has been one of ALFA’s highest priorities.
While the current Libyan regime has committed numerous crimes against other peoples and nations, its primary victim is the Libyan people. Thousands of Libyans were thrown into wars in distant lands without justification or cause. Thousands of others were thrown into jails without ever being charged with any crime; many of those prisoners have perished because of intolerable conditions, without ever-receiving medical care or attention. One of the most heinous crimes committed by the Libyan regime is the massacre 1200 defenseless political prisoners in the notorious Abusleem prison, on the outskirts of Tripoli, on June 29, 1996.
While Gadhafi was forced to admit responsibility for his crimes against citizens of other nations, and even pay compensations to the victims’ relatives, no such admission of guilt or compensation was ever offered to his Libyan victims. For example, Gadhafi continued to deny that the Abusleem massacre had ever taken place until recently, due to relentless efforts by Libyan expatriates living overseas. Toward shedding light on Gadhafi’s crimes in Libya, ALFA managed to host an event at Freedom House in Washington, D.C. on the 8th anniversary of the massacre (June 2004), during which an eyewitness to the Abusleem massacre was presented to the audience and the international media. Subsequently, a detailed account of the massacre was taped at the headquarters of Human Rights Watch in Washington, D.C.
Following Gadhafi’s admission of having secretly developed biological and chemical weapons (November 2003), and his subsequent abandonment of such programs, many heads of states in Europe and the United States, hailed the event as a genuine conversion by Gadhafi, from a terrorist to a man of peace. Some spoke of Gadhafi as an example to others to follow, forgetting that Gadhafi persisted in brutalizing Libyans inside their country as the international community celebrated his publicized conversion. This past month (June 2), the mutilated body of a young Libyan journalist, Dhaif Al-Ghazzal, was discovered in a trash dump on the outskirts of the city of Benghazi, a few weeks after he was kidnapped on May 21.
Dhaif Al-Ghazzal had worked for one of Gadhafi’s newspapers, the Green March, for several years, but prior to his brutal death, he wrote about his disillusionment with his working conditions and the widespread corruption. Dhaif received threats to his life if he continued to write his critical articles. The young journalist, being true to his journalistic tradition, continued his writings until May 21, when two security agents, hustled him into a car and drove him away under the cover of darkness. His case remained a mystery until the discovery of his body, bearing the marks of torture, fingers severed, a stab wound to his torso, and a bullet in his head.
The question we pose to the United Nations is: How can such a respected body of nations tolerate the presence of such a criminal regime amongst its roster? What we are seeking is justice for the victims of Abusleem prison and the latest of Gadhafi’s victims, Dhaif Al-Ghazzal, and the many more who have preceded them. Almost at the same time as the murder of Dhaif, a similar and almost identical case had occurred in Beirut, Lebanon, when another journalist was murdered. However, his murder received immediate international attention, and a team of UN experts was dispatched to Lebanon to carry out a thorough investigation and to report back its findings. We are urging a dispatch of similar investigative team to Libya to look into the massacre at Abusleem prison and the brutal murder of Dhaif Al-Ghazzal. We eagerly await your response.
C.C: Chairman of the UN Human Rights Committee
Human Rights Watch
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Department of State