Tripoli, 30 March 2013:
Libya must ensure that two . . .[restrict]Qaddafi-era officials recently extradited from Egypt receive humane treatment, fair trials and access to lawyers, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said.
The former Libyan ambassador to Egypt, Ali Mohamed Marya, and Mohamed Ibrahim Mansour, a senior finance official in the old regime, were extradited on Tuesday, reportedly facing charges of financial corruption.
“Holding former Qaddafi officials and others to account for past crimes is an important step for Libyans to achieve justice,” said HRW’s deputy Middle East and North Africa director, Nadim Houry. “But given the current level of abuse of detainees in Libya, no one facing trial should be sent back there unless the government can prove that they won’t be abused or denied a fair trial.”
The international human rights advocacy NGO said that Libya should “provide credible guarantees” that the pair’s rights will be protected, including informing them of any criminal charges against them and bringing them promptly before a judge. It pointed out that this is required under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Libya ratified in 1970.
“Egypt and other countries asked to extradite people to Libya should only arrest and hand over suspects if Libya credibly guarantees that it has ended the risk of torture or ill-treatment in detention,” HRW said.
It added that Libya should allow humanitarian and human rights organisations access to Marya and Mansour, to monitor their detention conditions and check that their rights are being respected. These organisations should also have access to other detainees across the country, estimated to be around 8,000, HRW said, some 2,400 of which are being held illegally by militias.
HRW has also voiced concern about Egypt’s handling of the arrest and detention of Marya. Family members have apparently told HRW that the Egyptian security officials who arrested Marya neither identified themselves nor showed an arrest warrant. They said he was taken to a secret location, was denied access to a lawyer and that family members were not allowed to visit him.
Qaddafi’s cousin and former coordinator of Libyan-Egyptian relations, Ahmed Qaddaf Al-Dam, who was also arrested on 19 March, is being held in Tora Prison in Cairo, awaiting extradition to Libya. His lawyer has challenged the extradition on the grounds that he has Egyptian citizenship. This is reportedly being disputed by the Egyptian public prosecution office.
HRW said that anyone facing extradition should be given the opportunity to challenge this beforehand, “if they fear torture, cruel and inhuman treatment, persecution based on their identity or beliefs, or other violations of human rights upon their return.” [/restrict]