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Human Rights Watch
Monday, 7 November, 2005

أصدقاء الكاتب عبدالرازق المنصوري : بيان من عائلة الكاتب السجين

Abdelrazeq al-Mansouri

Before the Rule of Law comes to Libya
A Letter from the Family of  `Abd al-Raziq al-Mansuri

Before the Rule of Law comes to Libya

A Letter from the Family of `Abd al-Raziq al-Mansuri

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Statement from the family of imprisoned writer `Abd al-Raziq al-Mansuri
Friday October 28, 2005

In the Name of God the all Powerful, the Merciful

We see that it is our duty to show the truth of our son’s case `Abd al-Raziq that has begun to assume a local and international dimension. On 1/12/2005 men from Internal Security in Tubruk arrested our son at the family home on Palestine St. His brother `Ali `Abd al-Wanis al-Mansuri accompanied him to `Abd al-Raziq’s residence where he lived to search [the premises]. When asked, they [I.S.] said that orders had come from the head administration in Tripoli to arrest `Abd al-Raziq for posting online. They searched the residence and confiscated his computer, CDs and any books in the house. `Abd al-Raziq’s brother asked them to respect Libyan law and present a search warrant from the prosecutor allowing the search but they did not care and took the computer with them and a bunch of disks and a bunch of articles `Abd al-Raziq was writing. When they arrived at the IS building, they took `Abd al-Raziq for questioning. His bother who was accompanying him remained in the outside waiting room. After a long time, one of the security officers asked his brother to provide a bed for `Abd al-Raziq and to go home. The next morning, 1/13/2005, `Abd al-Raziq’s brother returned to the IS building to ask about his brother and sat with those responsible for questioning him. They told him they had never seen someone with his confidence and had no trouble questioning him since he had confessed to the charges against him: writing numerous articles in which he criticizes the state of Libyan affairs posted on Akhbar-Libya online in his real name, leaving them no recourse to help him by denying the charges. They asked `Abd al-Raziq’s brother to go with them to search the house again to look for more disks and, in fact, went to search `Abd al-Raziq’s house. They began searching and collecting all the disks and papers they wanted. Just then, an officer came out of one of `Abd al-Raziq’s rooms holding an old pistol with no clip belonging to `Abd al-Raziq’s father from the 60s, useable and only kept as memorabilia, and bullets that `Abd al-Raziq’s father found on one of the beaches during a fishing trip. It is known that Tubruk is a border area where one can find many weapons and ammunition.

The next day, 1/14/2005, `Abd al-Raziq’s brother went to inquire about him and was told that he [`Abd al-Raziq] had been transferred to Tripoli. After almost two weeks `Abd al-Raziq’s brother went to Tripoli to search for him. After great effort, he found the place where `Abd al-Raziq was arrested, which belonged to the IS, but was not allowed to see him or even to secure a lawyer. He brought `Abd al-Raziq clothes and a few personal items and delivered them to those in charge. Afterwards, he went to the Qadaffi Foundation for Human Rights and submitted a request to the organization to help him in securing his brother’s safety. As of the writing of this statement, we have not received a reply from the above-mentioned organization. After `Abd al-Raziq’s brother tired from knocking on doors, he returned to Tubruk and informed the family of the above events, and that they could not do nothing but be patient.

The days passed with difficulty for the family, especially for his mother Maqbula al-Mansuri until one of the last days of 5/2005 when `Abd al-Raziq called them from the prosecutor in Tajura’ to tell them that `Abd al-Raziq was charged with possessing arms and ammunition without a license. Only because he was able to call while he was in the custody of the prosecutor we would have still thought he was detained by IS. They gave no indication that this case was changed to a weapons charge.

When `Abd al-Raziq asked the prosecutor about his previous detention with IS, the prosecutor told him his illegal detention and the duration for which he was imprisoned by the IS will not count, and only now (5/28/2005) had he been presented before the Libyan law. It would have been better, had he any respect for Libyan law, that he refuse this distorted case altogether. `Abd al-Raziq could have denied any relationship to the gun and ammunition because he was not present when they were found, or he could have said that his confessions were extracted by force during IS interrogation, but this way he would have lost all he was trying to convey through his articles to the public: to be courageous, honest, and truthful no matter the hardships one can face. He wanted his trial to be a true application of Libyan law. The question that comes to anyone who cares about the case of the writer `Abd al-Raziq al-Mansuri is: how can the Libyan judiciary try him according to the texts and legislation of Libyan law despite the fact that he was presented to them by the IS, who illegally detained him for four and a half months, and not pass judgment on them [the IS] unless they [the judiciary] are “weighing with two scales.”

What drove us, the family of `Abd al-Raziq al-Mansuri, to write this statement with freedom and without fear of detention, like our son, was what the head of the IS forces Mr. al-Tuhami Khalid said to Human Rights Watch during their visit to Libya: that they wouldn’t detain `Abd al-Raziq al-Mansuri for his writing, and if he wrote for twenty years he would not be detained. As such went the last meeting to occur between `Abd al-Raziq and the IS before his transfer to the prosecutor, in which they told him that it was his right to state his opinion and he would not be detained in the future no matter what he wrote. `Abd al-Raziq’s trial began before the special court in Tripoli and in the first hearing the lawyer requested a postponement of the case so that he could prepare an appropriate defense. In the second hearing, the incident occurred where `Abd al-Raziq fell from his upper bunk, due to the overcrowding of prisoners, which led to him breaking his hip, requiring a surgical operation and the installation of a platinum joint. During the second hearing, he was lying in bed in the al-Khadra hospital in Tripoli, which led to another postponement and a rescheduling of the next hearing for the following Wednesday (9/21/2005). At the beginning of the hearing, `Abd al-Raziq asked for permission to speak. Permission granted, he said that the primary case for which he was detained was his writing on Internet websites, that he was a prisoner of conscience, and that he called for a complete and undivided trial to include the interrogation by IS and his confession to writing the aforementioned articles; as for the case to be transformed into a criminal case over a gun and a bullet – that is something to which he would not agree. Afterwards, the defense lawyer spoke and showed how the old pistol belonged to `Abd al-Raziq’s father, that it does not concern the defendant and it was not fit for use, and he asked that the defendant be found innocent. The judge reserved judgment on the case for 10/19/2005.

On the day scheduled for the verdict, `Abd al-Raziq’s brother arrived in Tripoli to attend the sentencing, confident that the Libyan judiciary will keep its word and rule `Abd al-Raziq innocent of the charge of possession of a weapon without a license and, in the worst case, rule with a suspended sentence. He did not know that the ruling would be political with regard to `Abd al-Raziq al-Mansuri and disguised as a criminal charge.

When sentenced with one-and-a-half years to be carried out without taking into account the previous period when he was detained by the IS from 1/12/2005 to 5/28/2005, despite the case being transferred from IS, we ask how, with God as a witness, can matters be stabilized in our country as long as we are subjected to this type of application of Libyan law, knowing that we are not under open emergency law that allows detention without an order/warrant from the prosecutor and requires transfer to the prosecutor within 48 hours.

Therefore, we, the writer `Abd al-Raziq al-Mansuri’s family, will continue our son’s march, for he always wanted for everyone to eliminate fear. If he could not affect the closest people to him, his family, how could he affect others? We will begin, with our abilities, to write with freedom and leave the matter of the fraudulent charges of the Libyan state, knowing that we have been contacted, directly and indirectly, by the Libyan authorities (who are the reason for this problem) a while before sentencing to say that our son was not normal and we had refused. If defending the right to free speech and asking for basic human rights is insane in our country, then welcome to a family that is, from its oldest to its youngest, insane.

For we are the writer `Abd al-Raziq al-Mansuri’s family, standing and supporting our son completely and assure you that the reason for his detention was for his writing on Internet web pages, and freely presenting his opinions, and that the shameful charges brought against him are to discredit him. We are absolutely confident that he did nothing but for the good of Libya and he opened horizons for all to freely present their opinions for a better future.

We would like, at the end of this statement, to thank all who stood by our son – from the good sons of Libya, inside and out, to the sons of the greater Arab nation…

We thank the Libyan, Arab, and international human rights organizations for supporting truth and rights.

We thank every writer, intellectual, journalist, human rights activist, and politician who called for the release of our son.

We also thank the doctors and nurses in al-Khadra hospital in Tripoli for their courageous and noble stand, evidence of their virtue, integrity, and nationalism.

We demand, in closing, that the Libyan authorities immediately free our son, since the procedures from the beginning of this case were faulty and illegal.

The signatories of the family of `Abd al-Raziq al-Mansuri by age:

1. Mrs. Maqbula `Ashur al-Mansuri (Mother)
2. Fatima `Abd al-Wanis al-Mansuri (Sister)
3. `Aza `Abd al-Wanis al-Mansuri (Sister)
4. Mabruka `Abd al-Wanis al-Mansuri (Sister)
5. `Ali `Abd al-Wanis al-Mansuri (Brother)
6. Faeiza `Abd al-Wanis al-Mansuri (Sister)
7. Nowriyya `Abd al-Wanis al-Mansuri (Sister)
8. Zuhra `Ali al-Mansuri (Niece)
9. `Abd al-Wanis `Ali al-Mansuri (Nephew)
10. Salih `Abd al-Raziq al-Mansuri (Son)
11. Adam `Abd al-Raziq al-Mansuri (Son)
12. Maqbula `Ali al-Mansuri (Niece)
13. `Ashur `Ali al-Mansuri (Nephew)
14. Dalia `Ali al-Mansuri (Niece)
15. Ahmad `Abd al-Raziq al-Mansuri (Son)
16. `Aziza `Abd al-Raziq al-Mansuri (Daughter)

CC: The General Coordinator of the People’s Leadership
Secretariat of the General People’s Conference
Secretariat of the General People’s Committee
Secretariat of the People’s Committee for Justice
Secretariat of the People’s Committee for Public Safety
The Qadhafi Foundation for Human Rights
Local and international organizations concerned with human rights Local and international news outlets

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