Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2004 - Libya

Forced disappearance and arbitrary detention of Mr. Fathi Al-Jahmi61

In 2002, Mr. Fathi Al-Jahmi, an engineer and human rights defender, was sentenced to five years in prison for having called for the introduction of a Constitution and democratic reforms.

He was released on 12 March 2004 thanks largely to pressure from the United States on the eve of a U.S. official visit to Libya.

After being released, Mr. Al-Jahmi gave several interviews to the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya and the US-based Al-Hurrah Arab-speaking stations and reiterated its statements on need for democratic reforms in his country.

On 19 March 2004, members of the Revolutionary Party Committee rummaged through and ransacked his son's Internet café and threatened Mr. Al-Jahmi with the kidnap of his wife and daughters if he dared expressing his views about Libya again to the foreign media. Furthermore, on 26 March 2004 he was violently assaulted and beaten up by unidentified individuals, in the presence of police officers, outside his home in Tripoli.

On 4 April 2004, unidentified members of a security group took away Mr. Al-Jahmi, his wife, Mrs. Fawzia Ghoga Al-Jahmi, and their eldest son Mr. Mohamed Al-Jahmi. All three were detained in an unknown place.

Mr. Mohamed Al-Jahmi was released on 23 September and Mrs. Al-Jahmi on 4 November 2004. They reported that they had been kept in Benghazi, in the east of the country, together with Mr. Fathi Al-Jahmi.

Mr. Fathi Al-Jahmi was to be accused of "defaming the Head of State" and to be heard by the People's Court on 23 November 2004, when the hearing was postponed.62

By end 2004, Mr. Al-Jahmi was apparently still being detained in Benghazi, without a court of competent jurisdiction (the People's Court was abolished on 12 January 2005) or a date having been selected for the hearing.

[Refworld note: This report as posted on the FIDH website (www.fidh.org) was in pdf format with country chapters run together by region. Footnote numbers have been retained here, so do not necessarily begin at 1.]

61. See Open Letter to the Libyan authorities, 20 April 2004.


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