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Libya: Two men remain missing following abductions by UN-backed government-affiliated forces

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On February 20 and March 7, 2018, Alkarama and the Libyan Organization for Truth and Justice submitted two cases to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) of Libyan citizens who have been missing since their abductions in May 2017 and January 2018.

Mohamed Al Mgwab and Hussein Ali were abducted by forces under the authority of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) in May 2017 and January 2018, respectively. They remain missing to date, and their families have been left without any information on their fates and whereabouts.

On May 6, 2017, Mohamed Al Magwab – a 27-year-old English teacher – disappeared while driving in the Ain Zara neighbourhood of Tripoli, where he had gone to give an English lesson. Following his disappearance, his relatives enquired about his fate and whereabouts at their local police station in Tajoura, which subsequently opened an investigation.

After consulting Al Magwab’s mobile data, the police found that the victim received an unusually high number of calls from an individual named Asem Al Waeir. They arrested and questioned Al Waeir, who later confessed to having kidnapped Al Mgwad before handing him over to the 42nd Battalion, a militia that reports to the Ministry of Interior of the GNA.

Hussein Ali, a 43-year-old employee at the Libyan general consulate in Istanbul, was visiting Tripoli on a business trip on January 1, 2018 when he was arrested by security guards in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while trying to enter the building to attend a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Worried about his fate, his relatives attempted to call him on his cell phone, however, Hisham Bishr, a well-known GNA security official, picked up the phone instead. He informed the family that Ali was “being investigated”. His family remains unaware of his whereabouts and current place of detention.

“The GNA authorities should immediately clarify the fate and whereabouts of the victims and put an end to this practice by ensuring that the forces under their control abide by international human rights standards,” said Rachid Mesli, Alkarama’s Legal Director.

Alkarama and the Libyan Organization for Truth and Justice requested that the UN experts of the WGEID promptly intervene with the Libyan authorities to urge them to immediately inform the two men’s families of their fates and whereabouts and to release them immediately.

For more information or an interview, please contact media@alkarama.org (Dir: +41 22 734 1006).