By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 18 September 2013:
Congress voted yesterday to lift immunity from prosecution from three of its members who are being . . .[restrict]sued by 20 representatives of the Justice and Construction Party (J&C) for defamation.
“Sixty-one Congress members out of 104 voted to lift immunity from Congresswomen Hajer El-Ghaid, a member of the National Forces Alliance, and two independents, Jumaa Sayah and Tuati Al-Aidha, in order to enable the Attorney-General to investigate them”, Said Muftah Jarjar, a member of the Congressional Justice and Judicial Bodies Committee, told the Libya Herald.
Congress was asked by the Attorney General to lift their immunity so he could look into the complaint against them.
J&C members claim the three defamed the party by stating that it had “sold oil illegally to the Muslim Brotherhood and had secret relations with foreign countries” – allegations which the party strenuously denies.
Last month, J&C Congresswoman Amina Mahjoub told the Libya Herald that she and her colleagues were suing Al-Gaid, Sayah and Aidha “because they said on one of the local [TV] channels that J&C members of Congress received large sums of money from Qatar for the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya”. It was “not true at all”, she said.
At the time it was said that 18 J&C members were suing the trio. Two others are said to have now joined the case.
Despite their Congressional immunity being lifted, the three members will be able to attend the Congress sittings and participate fully for the moment, Jarjar said – but if charged by the Attorney General, their membership would be suspended. They would not be able to serve in Congress again unless they were then found innocent.
Congress members’ immunity is lifted , he explained, when a member commits “actions” against the Libyan Penal Law.
A number of the Congress members were deeply opposed to the move, a Congresswoman said on condition of anonymity. They thought it was more important to discuss Libya’s probems rather than spend time on what was, she said, “a fight between political parties”. [/restrict]