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The World Organisation Against Torture (Geneva)
Thursday, 14 June, 2001

OMCT Update On the Trial of the 98 Prisoners of Conscience

PRESS RELEASE
June 14, 2001
Posted to the web June 14, 2001

Geneva

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by a reliable source about developments in the trial of at least 98 prisoners of conscience in Tripoli, Libya.

According to the information received, a group of at least 98 prisoners of conscience are being tried before the people's court, having been arbitrarily arrested en masse in Libya's main cities during June 1998, ostensibly on the grounds of political opposition and, more specifically, for supporting or showing sympathy for the underground Islamic movement, the Libyan Islamic Group. This movement is not known to have used or advocated violence. The detainees include university lecturers, engineers, medical doctors, university students and businessmen. A list of their names can, if required, be obtained from OMCT. It is thought that the total number of people arrested for their political activities during the wave of arrests in 1998 may be as high as 140, although it has only been possible to obtain the names of 98 of them so far.

According to the information received, the 98 prisoners were brought before the people's court in Tripoli for the third closed session of the trial on June 3rd, 2001, having already attended closed sessions on March 18th, 2001 and April 29th, 2001. During the June 3rd session, which reportedly lasted around ten minutes, it was decided to postpone the hearing until June 17th. The detainees are being tried under the tajreem al- hizbiyyah (Incrimination of Party Activism) law, or law 71 of 1972(2), under which political activists can be tried by the authorities for opposition to the principles of the September 1st 1969 revolution, leading to possible sentencing for treason, which carries the death penalty.

According to the information received, the 98 prisoners have been held incommunicado since their arrest. Even though attorneys were appointed by their relatives, these attorneys were neither allowed to review the cases nor were they allowed to meet with their clients. They were not allowed to attend the session on April 29th. Subsequently, decision was taken by the judge to appoint lawyers (from the popular attorneys office) for their defence.

The International Secretariat of OMCT is gravely concerned for the 98 prisoners' physical and psychological integrity and fears that they may be subjected to torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment during their detention.

Action requested:

i. take all necessary measures to guarantee the prisoners' physical and psychological integrity;

ii. order their immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges or, if such charges exist, bring them before an impartial, independent and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times;

iii. ensure the right of those detained to be allowed to meet with their lawyers;

iv. order a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances of these arrests in order to identify those responsible, bring them to trial and apply the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;

v. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Addresses:

Colonel Mu'ammar al-Kaddafi, Leader of the Revolution, Office of the Leader of the Revolution, Tripoli, Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
Fax : + 218 21 333 01 85

Imbarak Abdalla El Shamek, Prime Minister, Secretary of the General People's Committee Tripoli, Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
Fax : + 218 54 60 017

Minister of Justice and General Security, Office of the Minister of Justice and General Security, Tripoli, Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
Fax : + 218 21 444 16 74

The General People's Congress (Human Rights section).
Fax : + 218 21 361 39 07

Please also write to the Diplomatic Representatives of Libya in your country.

Geneva, June 13th, 2001

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

For further information, contact Ben Schonveld,
Projects Manager OMCT-SOS-Torture,
Case Postale 119 37-39 Rue de Vermont CH1211 Geneva 20 CIC Switzerland,
Fax 4122 733 1051 Ph 4122 733 3140.
OMCT is l'Organisation Mondiale contre la Torture / The World Organisation Against Torture.--- E-mail: omct@omct.org; http://www.omct.org/

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