Libya’s Puppet Government Apologizes for Detaining UN Observers Charged with ‘Black Magic’

UN observer at Gaddafi trial held on suspicion of ‘black magic’

Gaddafi brothers are being illegally detained in Occupied Libya.

Ahmed Ghanem was arrested by Tripoli prison guards during the trial of two sons of Muammar Gaddafi earlier this month

Chris Stephen
theguardian.com | 29 May 2014

The United Nations says Libya has apologised for the detention of one of its officers on suspicion of “black magic”.

Guards at a Tripoli prison arrested Ahmed Ghanem, an official observing the trial of two sons of Muammar Gaddafi, earlier this month, saying they suspected him of having written materials containing spells or enchantments.

The UN stability mission in Libya (Unsmil) said it has had an apology and assurances from the government that it respects an agreement giving UN staff immunity from arrest.

“Unsmil was dismayed by the detention of Mr Ghanem for an hour and a half as well as what followed in terms of defamation and false accusations through some social media pages,” said a UN statement. “The mission affirms that it scrupulously respects the Libyan authorities’ legal, security and administrative procedures when its representatives attend trials.”

The official was arrested at the trial of Saif al-Islam and Saadi Gaddafi, who are accused along with more than 30 former loyalist officials of war crimes. He was later released after guards decided their suspicions were unfounded. The UN said it has had messages of support from diplomats and members of Libya’s judiciary.

“The mission described the accusation of sorcery not only as groundless, but also as ridiculous,” said a UN spokesman.

On Tuesday, the international criminal court denied occupied Libya’s appeal for the right to try Saif, saying Tripoli lacked conditions to ensure a fair trial, and ordered the government to send him to The Hague.

‘Black magic’ accusation causes diplomatic incident

Libya apologizes after UN official is detained

newstalk.ie image

Ruairi Casey
30 May 2014

If you thought that accusations of witchcraft were a thing of the very distant past, this news might surprise you.

Libya has been forced to apologise after detaining a UN official on suspicion of ‘black magic’.

The Guardian reports that Ahmed Ghanem, an observer to the trial of Muammar Gaddafi’s sons, was detained by guards in the Tripoli prison where the trial is being held. The guards accused of him of having occult written materials on his person, before posting images of his identity card and possessions on social media.

A statement by the UN stability mission in Libya (Unsmil) read: “Unsmil was dismayed by the detention of Mr Ghanem for an hour and a half as well as what followed in terms of defamation and false accusations through some social media pages.” Since then, they have received an official apology and a guarantee to respect the diplomatic immunity of UN officials.

The International Criminal Court has refused to allow the trial of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to take place in Libya, ordering that he must be brought to The Hague for a fair trial.