Letter To Senator Chuck Hagel Regarding His Visit To Libya|
August 22, 2005
Senator Chuck Hagel
Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Re: Release of Libyan Political Prisoners
Dear Senator Hagel:
The American Libyan Freedom Alliance (ALFA) is a nonprofit American organization, registered in the State of Virginia. It was founded for the promotion of democracy, human rights, justice, accountability and the rule of law, in Libya. Since ALFA’s founding, we have met with Senators, Congressmen, and officials in the Department of State, to share our concerns about the oppressive military regime in our old country.
I learned today, Monday, August 22, 2005 that you were planning a visit to Libya. I called your office to ask about the time of your visit, and I was told that you were enroute to Libya. I understand that while in Libya, you will be meeting with high officials in that country. Although we have missed the opportunity to meet with you prior to your visit, I hope that we are not too late to communicate to you an important message, of concern to us and our many friends and families back in Libya.
I understand that you will be discussing ways and means of normalization of ties between the United States and Libya. While we support the essence of the mission, we would like to point out that such normalization was preconditioned on improved human rights record of the Gadhafi regime, which remains dismal and among the worst of all nations. While we wish you success in your mission, we urge you to ask Gadhafi to release all political prisoners such as Fathi Eljahmi and Abdelraziq Al Mansouri, two of the hundreds of Libyan political prisoners in Libya.
Fathi Eljahmi is a prominent Libyan dissident who openly advocated the need for free elections, transparency, and freedom of the media. Fathi Eljahmi was mentioned by name by president Bush in one of his speeches at the White House earlier in 2004, as an example of bravery in the face of tyranny. Abdelraziq Al mansouri is a freelance Libyan writer who raised the same issues as Fathi Eljahmi, and called for democracy and transparency in government operations. He was arrested on January 12, 2005 and held incommunicado since his arrest. He is being tortured and has suffered broken bones, allegedly as a result of a fall earlier this month. Human Rights Watch and other Human Rights Groups have written extensively about both men. We ask you to remind Gadhafi that any improved ties with the United States is not possible without corresponding improvements in his human rights record.
Mohamed M. Bugaighis, Ph.D.
Chairman, American Libyan Freedom Alliance (ALFA)