By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 28 June:
Not surprisingly, this week’s official government press conference conducted by Nasser Al-Manaa on Wednesday 27 June was . . .[restrict]dominated by the handover of Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi, the last Prime Minister under the outgoing regime. The Melinda Taylor affair, the attack on the Tunisian consulate building, the elections, incidents of violence, the federalists and foreign security firms were the other main issues.
Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi is handed over to Libya
Al-Mana could not help but let a smile slip as he introduced the matter of the handover by Tunisia to Libya of Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi, the last Prime Minister under the Qaddafi regime. The only surprise is that Al-Mana did not open his press conference with what must be the biggest news since the capture of Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi.
Al Mana persistently maintained that Tunisia would handover Al-Mahmoudi to Libya at the regular Wednesday press conferences, despite all the contradicting stories that were appearing in the media.
The spokesperson admitted that it was not easy to get Tunisia to handover Al-Mahmoudi, and that it took time and involved many commitments by Libya. But it was conducted appropriately by both sides, he stressed, replying to suggestions that a deal was made with Tunisia.
‘We heard of opposition to the handover in Tunisia, but we are committed because this reflects on Libya. It is a step and a process that must end successfully so that all the others that are fleeing Libyan justice are handed-over’.
Al-Mana stressed that all prisoners in Libya have their full rights and that families are able to visit them. Al-Mana said he visited the prisons and highlighted the quality of food where both prisoners and prison staff eat the same food from the same kitchen.
‘We need this handover to be exemplary and a model for future handovers’, he noted.
The spokesperson confirmed that Al-Mahmoudi had arrived on Sunday 24 June and that he had a medical test which showed he was in ‘a good, normal condition of health’. He confirmed that Al-Mahmoudi was diabetic. Al-Mana however, strenuously rebuffed media claims and those put forward by Al-Mahmoudi’s Tunisian lawyer that Al-Mahmoudi was tortured or physically harmed.
The spokesperson insisted that Al-Mahmoudi was being kept under strictly controlled conditions within Libyan and international standards. He confirmed that Al-Mahmoudi has his full human rights guaranteed.
‘We wish to show a new way of dealing with prisoners in Libya’, Al-Mana stressed.
‘Shortly we will give access to Tunisian human rights and lawyers’ organizations to visit him and check that we have kept to all our commitments. We had received over the past months many Tunisian delegations in an effort to increase their confidence in us. They were able to visit prisons, prisoners from the old regime, and met with Ministry of Justice personnel. They left with high confidence and I wish this was explained more to Tunisian public opinion’.
The official spokesperson confirmed that Al-Mahmoudi was being held in a government controlled jail – part of the Ministry of Justice – staffed by Ministry of Justice police. This is to contrast with any other thuwar run or controlled operations in Libya.
After an appropriate period of rest, Al Mana informed, a committee started its investigations with Al-Mahmoudi
We thank Tunisia for responding positively to our request for Al-Mahmoudi’s handover and this precedent will no doubt continue to improve the good relations between the two countries.
For more on this story see: http://www.libyaherald.com/under-assault-tunisian-government-insists-mahmoudi-extradition-was-above-board/
The Melinda Taylor affair
Melinda Taylor, the International Criminal Court (ICC) lawyer is still being detained in Zintan since 7 June for allegedly attempting to smuggle ‘dangerous documents’ to Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi, for whom she is acting as a defence representative.
Al-Mana said that the Attorney General, Abdelaziz Al-Hassadi had returned from his recent visit to the ICC having shared his investigations with them, and that the Attorney General is continuing his investigations.
The spokesperson said that he had read that the ICC was sorry for the incident and that they were prepared to investigate the matter and that they were serious in dealing with any wrongdoings. He stressed that while the government was cooperating and facilitating links with the Justice department, in the new Libya there is division of powers and that the government could not interfere in the investigation.
He stressed that the government wanted to assure justice as well as the national interest and security of Libya. Al-Mana was sure that more information would be forthcoming from the Attorney General after his return from his visit to the ICC.
Melinda Taylor’s Lebanese interpreter, Helen Assaf is also being detained. Two other ICC male members, Spaniard Estaban Peralta Losilla and Russian Alexander Khodakov have been reported to have volunteered to stay in detention to accompany their two women ICC colleagues.
For more on this story see: http://www.libyaherald.com/melinda-taylor-granted-first-phone-call-to-family/
The attack on Tunisian consulate in Tripoli
Al-Mana confirmed that a single car – a Toyota – was used to throw a homemade TNT bomb (‘Jelatina’) at the side of the Tunisian Consulate building in Tripoli that caused little damage. No one at the consulate was harmed. The windscreen of a nearby car was cracked.
The spokesperson linked this directly to the handover of Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi. ‘The handover is bad news for many of his and the ex-regime’s supporters and the enemies of Libya and Tunisia. The aim is to cause fear and disruption’, he felt.
Al-Mana reported that Prime Minister Abdurrahim Al-Kib had phoned the Tunisian Ambassador to reassure him and that contacts with the Tunisian government were continuing.
For more on this story see: http://www.libyaherald.com/tunisian-consulate-in-tripoli-attacked-following-al-mahmoudi-extradition/
Foreign Security firms need to be organised
The spokesperson confirmed that the government’s intention towards foreign security firms was to organize them. During the Revolution there was a vacuum and many security firms entered and worked legally, but now we are organizing them and soon we will put a framework for them to operate within. He admitted that many embassies companies needed this service and that the Ministry of Interior will soon inform of a new organizational framework for foreign security firms.
Elections and the increased incidents of violence
Asked if the sporadic incidents of violence since the announcement of the date of the elections would cause a delay in the elections in some areas of Libya (such as Kufra), Al-Mana agreed with the thrust of the question.
‘Many don’t want elections or stability in Libya. We are hopeful that Libyans are up to the responsibility of elections. Many died so that we can vote. We are honouring them by having elections. A nation is not built in months, but by having the elections, it is a step forward. Libyan people shall surprise the world again as they did with the Revolution and as we did with the various successful city elections’.
‘Yes, there are those who do not want the elections to succeed’, Al-Mana concluded.
Federalists at Wadi al-Ahmar
With regards to the ‘roadblock’ or ‘checkpoint’ on the main coastal road by the Cyrenaica federalists at the Wadi al-Ahmar area east of Sirt (the historical boundary between Cyrenaica and Tripolitania), Al-Mana said that the government was paying close attention to this and that meetings were taking place with the other party that would hopefully lead to some positive results.
The spokesperson noted that some of the demands were plausible, and that Mustafa Abushagur, the Deputy Prime Minister was handling this issue. He felt that some of the demands of the federalists should be postponed – meaning until an elected government could address them.
He noted that the NTC had made some announcements recently regarding the selection of the ‘Committee of 60’ to be chosen by the General National Congress to draft the constitution, and that each 20 representatives would be chosen by the regional block. He hoped this would help reassure federalists seeking more autonomy for eastern Libya.
For more on this story see: http://www.libyaherald.com/coastal-road-block-by-cyrenaica-federalists-report/
Infantry battalions are formed by the Ministry of Defence
The ministry of Defence announced that the Chiefs of Staff had formed new Infantry battalions as part of its continued re-building programme of the Libyan National Army.
The Ministry of Defence also announced that it had carried out coastal defence exercises from various points along the Libyan coastline as part of its coastal defence programme.
Ministry of Social Affairs opens rehabilitation center
The Ministry of Social Affairs announced that it had opened the Swani Center on Wednesday 27 June to help rehabilitate Libyans injured during the war. The center has 500 beds and can receive 85 cases per day. The opening of the center will hopefully reduce the number of thuwar that need to be sent abroad for this type of treatment.
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