Libya: Enforced Disappearance of Literature Professor Since 22 November 2015
On 22 November 2015, 43-year-old Arabic literature professor, Salah Salem Slimane Al Hassi was abducted from his home in Bayda City by members of an armed group loyal to General Khalifa Haftar. According to his family, Al Hassi's abduction took place in retaliation for having taken part in a peaceful demonstration a few days earlier. Al Hassi had joined this political protest in an effort to denounce the human rights violations regularly committed by General Haftar's militias in the city of Bayda, in eastern Libya. With the victim still missing and in view of his family's incapacity to obtain information at the national level, on 27 November 2015 Alkarama sent an urgent appeal to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) to try and make light of his unlawful arrest.
Al Hassi's relatives inquired about his whereabouts in several detention centres run by the local authorities which, however, denied both his arrest and his current detention. Nonetheless, they suspect that he is detained either in Guernada Prison or in the Mardj secret detention centre. His family fears that Al Hassi is presently at risk of imminent execution, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment by members of General Haftar's armed forces.
Since 2014, Libya is plagued by a civil war opposing two rival camps battling to control different parts of the country, one currently controlling Tripoli. The second camp is the Tobruk-based internationally-recognised government, which controls the city of Bayda. In this context of insecurity and unrest, enforced disappearances are systematically practiced country wide. Victims of enforced disappearances are frequently detained in deplorable conditions and often subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatments. On 3 September 2015, Alkarama referred the case of six brothers, held incommunicado for several weeks, to the UN Special procedures.
"The internationally recognised Libyan authorities based in Tobruk should guarantee that every citizen can freely exercise its rights to freedom of expression and of association without fear of reprisals," said Rachid Mesli, Alkarama's Legal Director.
In its appeal, Alkarama urged the Working Group to call on the Libyan authorities to immediately release Salah Salem Slimane Al Hassi or, at the very least, to put him under the protection of the law by disclosing his fate and whereabouts. His family should also be allowed to visit him without restriction.
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