Saadi Gaddafi and the Plight of Libya’s Political Prisoners

By Alexandra Valiente
Viva Libya!

Saadi Gaddafi’s trial was postponed until July 12.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has called for the immediate release of all Al Hadba detainees, including Saadi Gaddafi, claiming their detention and trials have violated all international laws and norms. They have referred the matter to the Special Rapporteur on Torture.

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But to whom do they address their concerns within Libya?

There is absolutely no accountability with regards to prisoners held in detention centers, including the notorious al Qaeda/LIFG -controlled Al Hadba prison.

Ibrahim Dabbashi, Permanent Representative of Libya to the United Nations for the internationally recognized House of Representatives in Tobruk, stated at the UN Security Council meeting today, in response to International Criminal Court Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda’s demand for Saif Gaddafi’s extradition to the Hague, that neither the House of Representatives nor the new Government of Accord have any authority over detention centers in the country.

In the midst of this jurisdictional nightmare, the problem of legitimacy persists. The House of Representatives denied the Government of Accord its vote of confidence.

To this end, head of the Presidential Council, Fayez Serraj, is on tour, meeting with leaders of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, gathering support for a UN Security Council resolution that would grant his regime the legitimacy it so desperately craves.

Those who believe that the Government of Accord will end human rights abuses in Libya are deceived. The Shirkat Agreement (December17,2015) paved the way for the new regime to grant full immunity to violators. The Government of Accord’s Presidential/National Guard consists of 10,000 militia members. The danger is clear:

“The Libya Political Agreement (LPA – Skhirat) …referred to in the Vienna communiqué…included the disarming and dismantling of militias. However, since the GoA arrived in Tripoli, extremist militias operating under the “Libya Dawn” umbrella, were assigned to guard the PC. Simultaneously, Martin Koebler met in Istanbul with commanders of these militias, including al Qaeda’s Abdel Hakim Belhadj, to finalize power-sharing arrangements that would define their function under the regime. The plan was to replace the Libyan National Army (LNA) with the Presidential and National Guard.”

Regarding the Istanbul meetings held under the auspices of Turkish intelligence, Arabs of London published a detailed exposé. Khaled al-Sharif of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) proposed the assassination campaign targeting officers of the Libyan National Army as a means of neutralizing opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood’s usurpation of Libya. Since then, many members of the army in Tripoli have been killed. (Source)

In an ideal world, the prisoners held at Al Hadba who have been tortured, subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment and denied any semblance of a fair trial, would be released.

But the reality in Libya is far from the ideal and the rule of law has no force where militias reign. At no time since their imprisonment, have the prisoners been in greater danger than they are now.

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