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Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Libya

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 18 August 2011
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Libya, 18 August 2011, available at: [accessed 21 October 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: The Libyan government continued to demonstrate a strong and active commitment to combating terrorist organizations and violent extremism through bilateral and regional counterterrorism and security cooperation, particularly on the issue of foreign fighter flow to Iraq. Domestically, the Government of Libya has continued implementation of a counter-radicalization program focused on rehabilitating former Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) leaders and members, as well as other Libyans formerly involved with extremist organizations. Regionally, Libya remained a counterterrorism ally and worked with neighboring countries to counter and respond to terrorist threats stemming from al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other extremist groups.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: Libya maintained long-standing legislation that was used to counter terrorism and terrorist financing. During recent prisoner releases, Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, the son of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qadhafi, indicated that some individuals involved in domestic political opposition movements had been wrongly imprisoned on charges of terrorism. New legislation on immigration, ratified during the first half of 2010, contained articles designed to counter the spread of terrorism into Libya.

In 2010, Libya took steps to improve its capacity to monitor its borders and coastlines in an effort to strengthen domestic counterterrorism and security capabilities. The Government of Libya has requested additional support for training of and technical assistance to border guards and security personnel. The government's security ministries and agencies also cooperated with European partners to better train and equip domestic security forces. The government maintained strict port security measures and requested assistance from European nations to expand technical capacity to monitor its 2,000 km desert border.

The Libyan government enforced strict security measures and controls over tourist activity within the country, due to concerns that foreign tourists represented attractive targets for terrorists.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Libya maintained legislation to counter terrorist financing and money laundering. The Libyan Central Bank's Financial Crimes Unit led Libya's efforts to fight terrorist finance and money laundering but lacked the capacity to operate effectively. Libya's largely cash-based economy further complicated regulation and monitoring of domestic financial activity.

Regional and International Cooperation: In September, the heads of state from Libya, Algeria, Mauritania, and Mali met in the coastal city of Sirte to discuss coordination efforts to identify and combat security threats linked to AQIM in the Sahel-Sahara region. Regional governments have publicly confirmed coordination between Libya, Algeria, and Mali on military and intelligence efforts to fight threats from AQIM.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: In coordination with the Qadhafi International Charity and Development Foundation (QDF), the Libyan government worked to combat domestic terrorist threats through a counter-radicalization program among former members of the LIFG and other terrorist organizations. The goal of the rehabilitation efforts was through dialogue on and exposure to moderate interpretations of Islam, to encourage Libyans formerly involved in terrorist activity to renounce violence and reintegrate into Libyan society.

At a March 24 press conference, QDF chairman and son of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qadhafi, Saif al-Islam, announced the release of 214 prisoners as part of the counter-radicalization program. The released prisoners included the three top LIFG figures, 31 other LIFG members, 100 former members of "radical groups involved in Iraq," as well as 80 individuals charged as associates of "jihadist cells" but whom the Libyan courts had determined were actually prisoners of conscience. Another 37 former LIFG members were released in September as part of the same program. During the press conference, Saif al-Islam claimed that the individuals no longer constituted a threat to Libyan society and would be reintegrated into their communities. The Libyan government and QDF oversee the reintegration process, which includes job training and counseling.

The Libyan government, working with the government-sponsored World Islamic Call Society, QDF, and the government-affiliated Waatesimu Charity Organization, sponsored visits to Libya throughout the last year by a number of moderate Egyptian and Saudi Islamic scholars. The visits were designed to reach out primarily to populations of the country that have historically been politically disenfranchised, as well as to those in detention on terrorism-related charges. The World Islamic Call Society issued guidance to imams throughout Libya that included direction to avoid extremism in sermons.

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