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Comments by YACCS
Monday, December 22, 2003

The Libyan Scam

The Libyan Scam

So now that Libya has given up their moribund WMD program, against which they had no enemies to use against, and what do they get?

Oil, beautiful oil. Black and crude, bubbling up, modern bubbling oil. Oil.

See, they give up last year's status tool, the Porsche 911 Carerra of warfare, and now they get a nice new shiny Escalde of oil production help.

Make no mistake, Gaddafi isn't stupid. While the Marines weren't going to repeat the Shores of Tripoli, he looked around the world and realized that he could do more with oil money and modern production equipment than some canisters of mustard gas. He knew the American-equipped Egyptian Army would blow his collection of Soviet, Cold War relics which is now his army. And while everyone is patting themselves on the back and saying "oooh, Libya isn't a threat", they miss the great switch Gaddafi made. By playing the WMD card, Libya can expect to receive billions of investment from Big Oil.

That's right, there's no regime change, no call for democracy, just more profits for the Bushies and their friends. And you can bet that they're gonna use Libya to pacify those pissed at the deals Halliburton got in their new economic colony of Iraq. "Hey, sorry about Iraq, but we have Libya as a consolation prize. No war, no rebels, lots of that good Libyan crude."

Think about this: Libya's aggressive foreign policy failed. The Egyptians checked them in the 1970's, they were stalled in the Sudan for 20 years and the French kicked the crap out of them in Chad. Now, after years of failure, they come 'clean'.

Let's look at the human rights record of our new friend:

Head of state: Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi
Death penalty: retentionist
International Criminal Court: not signed

Approximately 65 political prisoners, including five prisoners of conscience detained since 1973, were released. Hundreds of others reportedly remained in prison. Families of dozens of prisoners were informed by the authorities that their relatives had died in prison, but were not told the date or cause of death. Several cases of "disappearance" were still not clarified. Two possible prisoners of conscience were sentenced to death. Reports of torture continued to be received; no investigations were known to have been carried out. Legislation remained in force criminalizing non-violent political activities and providing for unfair trials.

After the announced release of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, Colonel Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi declared on 1 September in his annual speech for the anniversary of the 1969 Revolution that "the existing Libyan prisons will be empty" with the exception of "a group of heretics who are believed to have links with what is known as al-Qa'ida and the Taleban". He stated that these would be treated in the same way the USA was treating people detained in Guantánamo Bay: "America said these people do not have the right to defend themselves, we will never provide them with lawyers, nor will their human rights be respected".

A climate of fear continued to prevail where victims of human rights violations or their relatives, in or outside the country, risk measures of retaliation when they communicate information to human rights organizations.


Unfair trials

Unfair trials, particularly before People's Courts established in 1988, continued to be reported. In a statement commenting on Amnesty International Report 2002, the authorities reiterated that the People's Court is an "independent body" which "maintains all legal safeguards with regard to levels of litigation and the rights of the defence". Despite apparent positive developments in the case of the "HIV trial", concerns regarding the unfair administration of justice remained unchanged.

In February a People's Court in Tripoli dropped charges of conspiracy against the state in the case of one Palestinian and six Bulgarian health professionals who had been on trial since February 2000, accused of deliberately infecting nearly 400 children in hospital with the HIV virus. It referred the case back to state prosecutors. In June the prosecution pressed similar charges to those which had formed the basis of the original trial, but dropped the charge of conspiracy against the state. In August the Arraignment Chamber ordered a referral of the accused before a criminal court. According to reports, security officers who interrogated and allegedly tortured the accused following their arrest in 1999 were also referred to the criminal court.


Death penalty

Legislation remained in force that provides for the death penalty for activities which solely amount to the exercise of the right to freedom of expression and association. Death sentences continued to be imposed. No executions were reported. Since 1988, the authorities have continued to state their intention to work towards the abolition of the death penalty but there was no concrete move on this issue.

On 16 February, two possible prisoners of conscience, Abdullah Ahmed Izzedin and Salem Abu Hanak, were sentenced to death after an unfair trial before a People's Court in Tripoli. Scores of others in the same trial received sentences ranging from 10 years' to life imprisonment. They were among 152 professionals and students arrested in 1998 on suspicion of supporting or sympathizing with the banned Libyan Islamic Group, al-Jama'a al-Islamiya al-Libiya, which was not known to have used or advocated violence. No investigation into allegations of torture during detention raised by some of the defendants was known to have been carried out. Both the defendants and the prosecution lodged appeals against the verdict.
Torture and ill-treatment

Torture remained common in detention centres. According to AI's information, officials failed to take action to investigate allegations of torture or provide redress for the victims. Corporal punishments provided by law remained in force and were reportedly applied.

On 5 September Muhammad Mas'ud Zubaida went to the office of the Revolutionary Committee in Beni Walid to inquire if his son 'Abdullah Muhammad Mas'ud, detained since 1994, was to be included in the latest round of releases. Muhammad Mas'ud Zubaida was reportedly detained and died shortly after his release the following day. He had allegedly been tortured and ill-treated in detention.

According to Libyan media reports, four men convicted of robbery had their right hand and left leg amputated on 3 July, after the punishment was endorsed by the Supreme Court.

Deaths in custody

Allegations of numerous deaths in custody were not investigated. The authorities notified dozens of families that their relatives had died in custody, but apparently refused to provide any details of the date or cause of death. Some families were told that the body of their relative could not be returned because the prisoner had died years earlier. This led to speculation that the prisoners may have been among scores of prisoners allegedly killed unlawfully by the security forces in July 1996 in Abu Salim Prison in Tripoli.


The authorities came under increased pressure to clarify several cases of "disappearance", but had failed to open thorough, independent and impartial investigations into the cases by the end of the year.

In his annual speech on 1 September Colonel Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi gave an official acknowledgement that Imam Musa al-Sadr, a prominent Iranian-born Shi'a cleric living in Lebanon, "disappeared in Libya" during a visit in 1978.
The authorities failed to disclose information about Mansur Kikhiya, former Foreign Affairs Minister and prominent human rights defender, who was last seen in Cairo, Egypt, in December 1993, or about Jaballah Matar and Izzat Youssef al-Maqrif, both prominent Libyan opposition activists who "disappeared" in Cairo in March 1990.

posted by Steve @ 7:58:00 PM

7:58:00 PM

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