Letter To British Prime Minister Tony Blair
October 23, 2005
The Honorable Prime Minister Tony Blair:
10 Downing Street
London, SW1A 2AA
Re: Memorandum of Understanding with Libya
Dear Prime Minister Tony Blair:
The American Libyan Freedom Alliance (ALFA) is an American non-profit organization, registered in the State of Virginia. ALFA was created for the promotion of democracy, human rights, rule of law, and accountability, in Libya. Since ALFA’s inception, we have been monitoring human rights abuses against Libyans inside and outside of Libya. Gadhafi's history of terrorism, murder, and torture is known to all, and is well documented by human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, to mention but a few. Due to Gadhafi’s oppressive policies, many Libyan nationals have sought refuge in western democracies, where they have enjoyed relative safety and personal freedoms. Many of them have set up their independent media outlets, and have benefited greatly from the Internet, where their views and ideas traveled far and wide.
The internet provided an important tool of communication between Libyans inside and outside of Libya. Gadhafi has fought hard over the years to deny Libyans any means of communication or self-expression, so the advent of the Internet has caused him anxiety and posed a threat to his monopoly on information. Also the presence of over 100,000 Libyan exiles overseas, with their freedom of mobility, freedom of expression, and their ability to transmit their thoughts to Libya, has posed a serious challenge to the Libyan regime. Gadhhafi has tried hard to force the Libyan exiles to return back to Libya, where he could monitor and control their every move.
Since a large number of Libyan expatriates live in western democracies, Gadhafi has sought to tempt those nations with lucrative business deals; and in return ask for the handover of those expatriates by falsely claiming they have committed acts of terrorism in Libya. Gadhafi has also claimed that Libyan exiles are terrorists who pose serious threat to American and European security. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in London on June 7, 2005, and British concern over repeat attacks, the British Government has sought to curb immigration and the number of political asylum cases. More recently, the British Government signed a “memorandum of understanding” with the Libyan government, whereby the British Government would hand over Libyan exiles, under the pretext of posing a security threat to the British public.
The British Government has sought to justify its decision, based on Gadhafi’s assurances, not to torture or harm the deportees. Gadhafi has no respect for agreements or obligations toward anyone, particularly if the subjects affected by these agreements are Libyan nationals. While we understand the concerns of the British Government to provide security for its citizens, such a security should not come through sacrificing individuals of other nations who have sought refuge in Britain from the oppression of a dictator, and have not violated any laws while residing in Britain, or at the erosion of British Civil Rights. Those who are suspect of wrongdoings should be tried in a court of law, and to receive punishments in accordance with the law. Virtually, all Human Rights Organizations have objected to the British Government’s signing of ‘the Memorandum of Understanding’ with a regime, where torture of prisoners is a common practice. We urge the British Government to adhere to its deeply rooted traditions of fairness and the rule of law, and to abrogate the agreement without delay.
Mohamed M. Bugaighis, Ph.D.
Chairman, American Libyan Freedom Alliance (ALFA)