Statementof the Libyan National Popular Movement on the Sentences Issued against the Highway – Case – Libyan – Prisoners

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August 29, 2018

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On August 15, 2018 the Tripoli Court of Appeal issued unmerited sentences against 124 citizens accused of killing anti-Gaddafi demonstrators on August  21, 2011. 45 defendants were sentenced to death by firing squad, 54 to five years in prison and 22 to acquittal, while three had died during imprisonment.

The Libyan National Popular Movement (The Movement) has been following the development of the so-called Highway Case against prisoners of war who were defending their local community in Tripoli in the face of invaders assisted by NATO Apaches in 2011. As such, it is the belief of the Movement’s legal experts that the case lies within the provisions of Prisoners of War, covered by the third Geneva Convention of 1949. The harsh sentences given in this case is further proof that certain elements in the Libyan judicial system have become hostage to the de facto power of militias and their bloody cycle of violence and terrorism.
As a result, the Movement declares its categorical rejection of the policy of settling political accounts by tampering with laws and regulations and by exploiting some judicial platforms that are hostage to the interests of the militias and subject to the dictates of some countries involved in the Libyan bloodshed. On the other hand, it bemoans the dangerous stage reached by the usurpers of power in Libya, and their immoral rivalry and disregard for laws and societal civil peace, which represents the last bastion we can rely on to save Libya from destruction and the imminent threats endangering our homeland on all levels from all directions.

In this regard, the Movement would like to inform the Libyan and world-wide public opinion of its stance vis a vis this dreadful negative manipulation of the law and the need to put an end to it. Thus, the Movement believes that:

1. This type of trial is a political trial that has nothing to do with the domain of law.It  lacks legitimacy because it functions under a sham government, that has no authority over the land and is being looked at by many Libyans as a power usurper. Everyone knows its true nature as an externally imposed government that neither the Libyans nor parliament has the power to change or hold accountable.

2. The trial and its prior procedures, including arrest, investigation and interrogation are absolutely null and void. The procedures of arrest were not taken in the legal form because the suspects were kidnapped by militias and criminal gangs, not through specialized law enforcement agencies and judicial institutions that assume the status of judicial control. Some of these militias have been classified, locally and internationally, as terrorist groups known for adopting the most horrendous methods of torture to extract information and using it in a manner contrary to morality and incompatible with the law.

3. In addition to the false procedures of arrest and interrogation, this mock trial suffers from weakness of sustenance, and lack of substantiation and evidence regarding an incident that took place during a global war, launched by major countries on Tripoli, Libya’s capital, from the air and land, to enable Libyan terrorist groups to take control of the capital and convert it from a safe complacent city to one of the most dangerous, unlivable cities in the world, under their control.

4. Many international and national human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and the Libyan Human Rights Committee have confirmed with regard to more than one incident, and on more than one occasion, their denunciation of the human rights’ situation in the current February period, their condemnation of the various incidents of violation committed in prisons and, the legal imbalance that necessarily results from these violations. Such legal imbalance has been confirmed by correspondence, statements and procedures taken by the parallel judicial authority of the Ministry of Justice of the Libyan Interim Government, which has repeatedly declared that the judiciary in the capital is under the control of terrorist militias, leading it to inform Interpol to suspend its warrants of Wanted Persons relating to Libya until the stabilization of the situation in the capital, activation of the judicial system on sound legal and legislative foundations and, putting an end to the political conflict and the presence of more than one government claiming legitimacy in the country.

5. The seriousness of this type of judgment transcends the issue of legal flaw and its multiple manifestations, as clearly displayed in this incident. Rather it constitutes a direct threat to civil peace and undermines confidence in, and impartiality of, the Libyan judiciary, which has been recognized for neutrality and impartiality throughout the years. This, in turn, will be negatively reflected on the projects of national reconciliation, which the Libyans see as the last hope to stop the shedding of Libyan blood and to restore Libya from the risks of being turned into a quagmire of terrorism, a place for the resettlement of illegal immigrants and, a failed state threatened by disintegration and extinction.

Based on these facts, and to effect justice and preserve the human rights of these young Libyans, the Movement:

1. Urges all the great Libyan people to work to widen the circle of rejection of these violations that place the Libyan judiciary in the kiln of political mercenaries who perished during the attacks on our Tripoli and who are falsely described by the court as Libyan demonstrators. The question here arises: who will be able on that given day to go on a demonstration under NATO’s heavy shelling? The answer is unequivocally clear. Nobody. There were no demonstrators on the highway. What happened in that place were the most intense combat operations between fighters defending their communities and foreign and local aggressors.

2. Appeals to the Libyan lofty Judicial Institution to renounce this clique of hell-fire judges and to act with a courage that we know they do not lack to invalidate these corrupt rulings and to disown them, so that the Libyan judiciary will continue to be a safe haven and the fortified fortress at the hands of which collapse all attempts of weak souls or criminals and terrorists to deflect or control it.

3. Calls upon local and international legal entities and human rights organizations to support the sons of Libyan people who had been abducted by the militias and subjected to such unmerited judiciary rulings under the power of these militias by calling for and working to stop and abolish these false verdicts against these prisoners of war, whose rights and the safety of their lives are guaranteed by international laws and regulations.

Glory to Libya. Glory to the Martyrs of the Homeland. May Allah free our heroes in captivity sooner rather than later.
Freedom to the Homeland and Sovereignty to the People

The Libyan National Popular Movement
Issued in Benghazi 19/08/2018

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