Libya: Urgent call for the release of abducted Libyan political activist

Abducted Libyan Political Activist Belgasem Al Jared

Tunis, 10 July 2023 – More than a week has now passed since Belgasem Al-Jared, a distinguished PhD graduate from the University of Sheffield and a Libyan political activist, was abducted from his home in Benghazi on 27 June 2023. Mr. Al-Jared, who has been serving as a university professor in Libya for over a decade and recently ran for parliamentary elections, was seized by the Libyan Internal Security Agency operating in Eastern Libya.

Mr. Al-Jared, a father of three, has not been heard from since his abduction and his family still does not know where he is. As a political activist, Al-Jared frequently voiced his criticism of the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) and the House of Representatives in Eastern Libya on his social media accounts since 2017. His outspoken opinions are believed to have triggered his abduction and arbitrary detention.

Ali Al-Aspali from Libya Crimes Watch (LCW), an active member of the Libyan Anti-torture Network, expressed his concerns, stating, "LCW is deeply troubled by the situation surrounding Al-Jared. His arrest was conducted in a terrorizing manner. Reports indicate that Internal Security forces forcibly entered his home without an arrest warrant and violently removed him, without providing his family any explanation for his arrest or his whereabouts. Arrests should adhere to proper legal procedures, including the provision of legal representation and allowing communication with the detainee's family. LCW is profoundly disturbed by the abduction of several outspoken activists on social media by the LAAF in recent months. In the current situation where access to justice is challenging in Libya, this emergency requires an immediate intervention from international mechanisms working on Libya."

The World Organisation Against Torture and Libya Crimes Watch, a member of the Libyan Anti-torture Network (LAN) are calling on the Libyan authorities in the East to disclose Mr. Al-Jared's fate and demand his immediate release. Abduction and arbitrary detention are crimes under international human rights law, and authorities bear full responsibility for the well-being of each citizen. Investigations must be promptly initiated into all abduction cases perpetrated by the Internal Security forces.