By Alexandra Valiente
Viva Libya !
The mock trial for Saif Gaddafi and 36 officials of the Jamahiriya was postponed again today. The next hearing is scheduled for November 30, 2014.
31 defendants were present, however Saif Gaddafi was again excluded, the Zintan brigades claiming that security prevented them from providing a closed circuit video link to the Tripoli proceedings.
During today’s show trial, observers noted that there was an absence of adequate security and that the majority of prisoners had no defense counsel present.
The status of detainees remains an outstanding concern.
Abdullah Senussi appeared in court. Although he allegedly began a hunger strike two weeks ago, there have been no statements from either his family or his defense team regarding this.
The failure of the Zintan brigades to provide a video link during the November 4th hearing raised questions as to whether Saif Gaddafi was safe, or even alive. These concerns were amplified when his ICC defense counsel, John Jones, confessed in an interview last week that he has had no contact with his client in over two years.
Although Saadi Gaddafi is scheduled to appear in a separate hearing, last week, Hadba prison in Tripoli denied the human rights and transitional justice division of the UNSMIL the right to interview him or any other detainees.
Over the past few days, there have been statements from human rights organizations, the ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, and the UN Security Council condemning Libya’s lawlessness, war crimes and human rights abuses, demanding that the government intervene and address the urgent needs of the political prisoners.
(HRW : Letter to the ICC Prosecutor : Accountability for Serious Crimes in Libya and Justice for Political Prisoners |UN Security Council: Address Libya’s Crimes and the Urgent Needs of Political Prisoners | Fatou Bensouda (ICC) at UNSC on Libya)
There are over 40, 000 political prisoners in Libya, all held in filthy, militia-run detention centers. They endure inhumane conditions, deprivation and torture. Many have been executed following kangaroo tribunals or died of injuries inflicted from beatings and torture. None have had legal counsel. Many are detained for the crime of having black skin.
And more to the point, it is the militias that are in power. Libya has no functioning government. Thus the calls from the United Nations and human rights bodies can find no competent target for their demands.
(OHCHR | UNHCR Appeal to al Qaeda to Permit them to Resume Operations in Tripoli)
The continued efforts made by the UN and NATO allies to prop up the client regime are failing.
Libya’s Supreme Court declared the parliament illegitimate.
The Tobruk parliament retaliated by declaring they do not recognize Libya’s Supreme Court.
Since that decision, there have been several attacks on buildings and parliament members in Tobruk, including assassination attempts on NATO’s client Prime Minister, Abdullah al-Tani, and Bernardino Leon, head of the UNSMIL.
While the country descends into a spiral of escalating violence, the future of all of Libya’s prisoners grows increasingly desolate.
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