|Still No Word Of Cyber-Dissident Al-Mansouri|
Five Months After His Arrest
Reporters Without Borders today urged foreign embassies in Tripoli to ask the Libyan authorities what has happened to bookseller and cyber-dissident Abdel Razak Al Mansouri, who has disappeared without trace since his arrest on 12 January, apparently for making fun of a speech by President Muammar Gaddafi in an article he sent the day before to a foreign website. His family has received no news of him since then.
"Although carried out by the police, the arrest seems more like a kidnapping," the press freedom organization said. "Abdel Razak Al Mansouri's family has not been informed of the charges against him or where he is being held, so we call on foreign diplomats based in Tripoli to ask the Libyan government for the official reason for his arrest and his place of detention."
Al Mansouri's last article, dated 11 January and posted on the London-based dissident website www.akhbar-libya.com, mocked a speech made a few days before by President Gaddafi in which he said he "accepted different opinions."
Two messages were posted in late April and early May on the Akhbar Libya site by persons claiming to be Al Mansouri's sisters, Noria and Faiza, in which they said they were "proud" of their brother and called on other Libyan Internet users to follow his example by posting messages on the Web in their own name.
Aged 52, Al Mansouri is believed to have been arrested in the eastern city of Tobruk on the evening of 12 January. It is believed the security services transferred him to a prison in Tripoli two days later. Only Akhbar Libya has reported his arrest, which has never been confirmed by the authorities.
Al Mansouri began writing articles for Akhbar Libya last year, discussing social issues and human rights violations by the Libyan authorities.
Libya is ranked 154th in the Reporters Without Borders classification of 167 countries according to their respect for press freedom.
Reporters Without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press freedom throughout the world, as well as the right to inform the public and to be informed, in accordance with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Reporters Without Borders has nine national sections (in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom), representatives in Abidjan, Bangkok, Istanbul, Montreal, Moscow, New York, Tokyo and Washington and more than a hundred correspondents worldwide.