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Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
16.06.08
Urgent Interventions

Follow-up of case LBY 031207_Two released and eleven demonstration organisers sentenced

Case LBY 031207.4
Follow-up of case LBY 031207, LBY 031207.1, LBY 031207.2 and LBY 031207.3

Release/ Forced disappearance/ Sentence/ Unfair trial/ Allegation of torture and ill-treatment/ Risk for safety

The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) has received new information concerning the following situation in Libya.

New information

The International Secretariat of the OMCT has been informed by a reliable source and by Antenna International, member organisation of OMCT SOS-Torture network, that a state security court[1] in Tripoli sentenced, on 10 June 2008, Mr. Jamal Alhaji (writer), Dr. Idris Bufayed, Mr. Fareed Azway (writer), Mr. Almahdi Hmeed (lawyer), Mr. Assadiq Hmeed, Mr. Faraj Hmeed, Mr. Ali Hmeed, Mr. Ala Adrisi, Mr. Assadiq Gashoot, Mr. Bashir Alharis, and Mr. Ahmad Alabeedi, detained in connection with a planned demonstration against the authorities in February 2007, to six to 25 years in prison. As to Mr. Adel Hmeed, he was reportedly released on the same day.

Dr. Idris Bufayed, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison, remains in very poor health condition and is still hospitalised in "Sabrata" hospital for cancer treatment. There is currently no information as to the status of his demand for immediate release for medical reasons.

According the same information received, Mr. Juma Bufayed, whose whereabouts were unknown since his arrest in February 2007, was released on 27 May 2008. He was reportedly detained in Abu Salim prison in Tripoli. No further information is available as to his conditions of detention and the circumstances of his release. Mr. Abdel rahman Al-Gteewi, who was arrested along with Mr. Juma Bufayed and the 12 other men, remains however reportedly disappeared.

The International Secretariat of OMCT remains very much concerned about the forced disappearance of Mr. Abdel rahman Al-Gteewi, being at particular risk of torture and ill-treatment. Moreover, OMCT expresses its concern with the sentencing of the 11 above-mentioned individuals, who, according to the information received, seemed to be effectively punished for their peaceful political opposition to or criticism of the government and who reportedly faced an unfair trial. OMCT calls on the Libyan government to exonerate and release the 11 above-mentioned sentenced individuals.

OMCT recalls that Libya is a State party to the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which both prohibit cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. In line with their obligations under these treaties, it is incumbent on the Libyan authorities to consider seriously any allegations of torture and ill-treatment made by the victim, and to undertake a thorough investigation in this regard. OMCT also recalls to Libya that according to article 9 1) of the ICCPR “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention”.

Reminder of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT was informed about the trial of 12 men detained in connection with a planned demonstration against the authorities in February 2007. Reports indicate that they were allegedly subjected to torture and ill-treatment. Moreover, two individuals, who were arrested along with the 12 men, remained reportedly disappeared.

According to the information received, Mr. Jamal Alhaji (writer), Dr. Idris Bufayed, Mr. Fareed Azway (writer), Mr. Almahdi Hmeed (lawyer), Mr. Assadiq Hmeed, Mr. Faraj Hmeed, Mr. Adel Hmeed, Mr. Ali Hmeed, Mr. Ala Adrisi, Mr. Assadiq Gashoot, Mr. Bashir Alharis and Mr. Ahmad Alabeedi were arrested between 16 and 17 February 2007 and detained in view of their planned peaceful demonstration to take place in Tripoli to commemorate the first anniversary of the killing of at least 12 people and the injuring of score of more during a demonstration in Benghazi. Mr. Abdel rahman Al-Gteewi and Mr. Juma Bufayed, Dr. Idris Bufayed’s brother, were later arrested but no grounds have been given for their detention and no charge has been laid against them. The reasons for their detention are unclear as they were reportedly not part of the demonstration organisers. There is however reasons to believe that Mr. Juma Bufayed was arrested because of his close relationship with Dr. Idris Bufayed, and more specifically by the phone calls he reportedly made right after his brother was arrested to inform about the situation.

Mr. Ahmad Alabeedi, Mr. Adel Hmeed, Mr. Ali Hmeed, Mr. Faraj Hmeed, Mr. Almahdi Hmeed, Mr. Assadiq Hmeed and Mr. Fareed Azway were reportedly presented on 20 April 2007 before a court in the district of Tajoura in Tripoli and then detained at the Aljadidah prison in Tripoli. Dr. Idris Bufayed, Mr. Assadiq Gashoot, Mr. Ala Adrisi, Mr. Jamal Alhaji, and Mr. Bashir Alharis were also reportedly presented before the same court but were then transferred to Ain-Zara prison in Tripoli, after allegedly being detained for at least two months in a detention centre operated by the Internal Security Agency in Sikka Street, aka 7th November Street, in Tripoli.

The 12 men were reportedly charged with vaguely worded offences including possession of weapons, conspiracy against the "Public Authority", conspiring and contact with foreign enemies, encouraging violence against the State.

According to the same information, none of the 12 men were able to meet their lawyers outside the court room. A hearing reportedly took place on 20 November 2007 but was postponed to 4 December 2007 because of the absence of two lawyers appointed by the judge. Moreover, only those detained at Aljadidah prison were reportedly present at the hearing. The hearing was further postponed to 8 January 2008 but the reasons of this postponement are unclear. A new hearing was expected to take place on 13 March 2008 but was then held two days before, on 11 March 2008, when the Revolutionary Security Court reportedly announced that the judgement would be rendered at a final hearing on 14 April 2008. However, the hearing was rescheduled on 15 April 2008 at which date the court decided to postpone the hearing to 13 May 2008. No reasons were reportedly provided for these postponements. At the 13 May hearing, Dr. Idris Bufayed demanded his release for medical reasons. The court requested a medical report and decided to re-postpone the hearing to 10 June 2008. All 12 men were present.

According to the information, all prisoners have allegedly complained to have suffered acts of torture in the first five months of their arrest. Mr. Faraj Hmeed and Mr. Almahdi Hmeed were allegedly punched and beaten with wooden implements, subjected to falaqa (beating on the soles of the feet) and placed in a coffin as a form of intimidation during at least one interrogation session. They had reportedly to receive medical treatment as a result. Moreover, those detained at Ain-Zara prison were allegedly kept in the basement without any light for months. While the men detained at the Aljadidha prison were allowed a few family visits (although on an irregular basis), the detainees at the Ain-Zara prison were allegedly not allowed any. Furthermore, reports indicate that Mr. Ahmad Alabeedi, Mr. Jamal Alhaji and Mr. Fareed Azway are in very poor health condition. Mr. Fareed Azway reportedly suffers from chronic eye problem and is mentally stressed.

Regarding Mr. Abdel rahman Al-Gteewi’s and Mr. Juma Bufayed, their whereabouts has remained unknown since their arrest in February 2007.

Actions requested

Please write to the authorities in Libya urging them to:

  1. Immediately locate the whereabouts of Mr. Abdel rahman Al-Gteewi;
  2. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of all the 14 above-mentioned individuals;
  3. Immediately drop convictions of the 11 sentenced individuals and release them;
  4. Guarantee immediate and unconditional access to their lawyers, families and any appropriate medical treatment they may require;
  5. Order a thorough and impartial investigation into these events, in particular into the allegations of torture, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them to trial and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;
  6. Guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Addresses

  • Colonel Mu'ammar al-Kaddafi, Leader of the Revolution, Office of the Leader of the Revolution, Tripoli, Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Fax : + 218 21 333 01 85
  • Secretary of Justice, Minister Mr Mustafa Abdeljalil, Email: secretary@aladel.gov.ly; fax nr ++ 218214805427
  • Permanent Mission of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to the United Nations Office at Geneva and International Organizations in Switzerland, Rue de Richemond 25, 1202 Geneva, Tel: +41 22 959 89 00, Fax: +41 22 959 89 10, Email: mission.libye@bluewin.ch
  • The Embassy of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in Brussels , 28 av. Victoria, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Tel: +32 2 649 37 37, Fax: +32 2 640 90 76, Email: Libyan bureau be@yahoo.com

Please also write to the Diplomatic Representatives of Libya in your country.

Geneva, 16 June 2008

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

[1] The court is reportedly located inside the Abu Salim prison in Tripoli.

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