Libya: Cleric Unlawfully Detained for Over 9 Months by Forces Affiliated to UN-backed Government of National Accord
On 11 October 2016, Alkarama sent an urgent appeal to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) regarding the case of Mr Moustafa Abdelkhalek Al Darsi, a 48 year-old Libyan citizen who was arrested in the city of Zliten in January 2016 by members of the RADA forces; the main security force in Tripoli operating as an independent department under the Ministry of Interior of the UN-backed Government of National Accord installed in March.
On 9 January 2016, Al Darsi was on his way to the mosque in Zliten where he works as a cleric when he was arrested, with no warrant, by members of the RADA Forces dressed in plainclothes. He was then taken to the forces’ headquarters in Souk Al Jomaa. His family still does not know the reason for his arrest.
It was only after several months of detention, on 28 May 2016, that Al Darsi’s family was able to see him but only through a glass screen at the airport of Maitigua situated 11km east of Tripoli, where the RADA Forces control a place of detention. The family was thus prevented from talking to him and was not able to inquire about his health or the reasons for his detention. Alkarama fears that Al Darsi was arrested because he works as a cleric at the Tarik Assahel mosque, which is affiliated with the the Benghazi-based competing governement, in the eastern part of the country.
Al Darsi has been detained for almost nine months without any charges and without being presented before a judicial authority. He has not been allowed to see a lawyer either nor to have any contact with his family since his arrest.
Akarama fears that the lack of proper independent judicial control over the RADA forces will lead to more violations of this type as these forces are under the sole and direct control of the Ministry of Interior, which is not sufficient to ensure the respect of the procedural rights of the individuals they detain.
The right to contact one’s family and lawyer, as well as the right to be informed of the reasons of one’s detention and to challenge such grounds before an independant judicial authority are absolute rights. As such the behaviour of the RADA forces clearly violates Libya’s international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and amounts to an arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Alkarama also fears that Al Darsi may be subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment, given that he is being detained without any legal protection.
Therefore, Alkarama asked the WGAD to send an urgent letter to the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to call on the Libyan authorities to immediately release Moustafa Abdelkhalek Al Darsi or, at the very least, to put him under the protection of the law by disclosing his fate and whereabouts and allowing his family to visit him without restriction.
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