By Ashraf Abdul Wahab.
Tripoli, 3 August 2013:
At many as 18 prisoners managed to escape in Tripoli on Thursday afternoon when a . . .[restrict]judicial police vehicle was ambushed by masked gunmen, firing from 15 cars.
The incident took place as the prisoners were being transported back to Ain Zara and Bawabat-Aljibs prisons after they had appeared at a court and the prosecution office in Swani. Two former revolutionaries who had recently joined the judicial police were injured in the attack.
There have been a number of attacks on the Judicial police while moving prisoners. In April in one ambush, a prisoner was killed and two policemen seriously wounded.
According to Judicial Department spokesman Lieutenant Ahmed Abu-Karaa, the judicial police they were risking their lives moving prisoners and genuinely afraid of further attacks. He called upon Congress and the government to provide urgent support to the judicial police, including armoured vehicles, in order to avoid more of his colleagues being injured or even killed.
Speaking to Al-Watan newspaper, he accused the Prime Minister of not keeping his promises. He said when the Ali Zeidan had visited the Judicial Authority headquarters with the Minister of Justice in April 2013, he had promised surveillance cameras, armoured vehicles, light weapons and other equipment. There was also to be training in Libya and abroad so as to benefit from the experience of other countries. However, nothing had happened, he said. The promises were for the benefit of the TV camera, he claimed, accusing the government of acting only after disasters happened.
There was growing discontent among members of the Judicial Department because of the repeated attacks, Abu-Karaa said. They were now reluctant to accompany inmates to the public prosecution offices or courts for fear of being attacked. What weapons they carried, he said, were their own, brought with them when, as former revolutionaries, they joined the judicial police.
He predicted that jail breaks, notably the recent mass break out from Benghazi’s Kuwafiyah prison, and ambushes of prisoner transport would until the judicial authorities were given the resources they need. He also called on the Ministry of Justice to quickly resume work at Ain Zara’s Court and Public Prosecution Office because they are located within the vicinity of the prison. The location would reduce the need to transport prisoners and therefore the possibility of attacks, he said.