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Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
7 December, 2006

Idris Boufayed

Libya : Swiss-Based Cyber-Dissident Arrested
While Visiting Family, Held For Past Month

Reporters Without Borders called today for the release of Libyan cyber-dissident Dr. Idrees Mohammed Boufayed, who is believed to have been detained in Tripoli since 5 November for criticising the Libyan government on opposition websites. There has been no news of him for the past month.

“It is deplorable to see the Libyan government still trying to silence its opponents,” the press freedom organisation said. “While the media are entirely controlled by the state, the Internet is free and has become an important tool for the opposition to disseminate its ideas. But cyber-dissidents who criticise “brother leader” Muammar Gaddafi’s regime risk suffering the same fate as Boufayed. Libya deserves to be reinstated on the list of Internet enemies.”

According to Human Rights Watch, Boufayed went missing on 5 November after being summoned to the Tripoli office of the Internal Security Agency to receive his passport, which was confiscated at the airport when he arrived in Libya on 30 September to visit relatives. He has lived in exile in Switzerland for the past 16 years.

A representative of the National Union for Reform, a group founded by Boufayed, said: “We call on the Libyan government to release Dr. Boufayed immediately. He is being held solely because his views are contrary to those of the government.”

A 50-year-old physician, Boufayed used to belong to the National Front for Safeguarding Libya. He has written many articles criticising Col. Gaddafi’s policies and calling for a new government. He has also defended human rights and freedom of expression.

Reporters Without Borders published the report of a fact-finding visit to Libya on 4 October:

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