By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 22 November 2013:
Speaking at yesterday’s handover ceremony by the Sawaiq militia, based at the Islamic Call Society, Justice . . .[restrict]Minister, Salah Maraghni stressed that both Laws 27 and 53 applied equally to prisons or sites holding prisons currently under the control of militias.
The Justice Minister said that this was especially so if Libya is to become a state of law, fairness and justice.
Laws 27 and 53 stipulate that militias must by 31 December 2013, vacate their Tripoli bases (including prisons), break-up as a military unit, join the regular army or police as individuals (if they desire to pursue a career in the security forces), or have their wages (still being paid by the state) terminated.
Justice Minister Maraghni said that “despite last Friday’s pain, maybe next Friday will bring hope.”
The Justice Minister, taking advantage in the nation’s mood change in the aftermath of the bloody Gharghour militia base killings, was keen to stress that Tripoli-based former revolutionary militias that had helped overthrow the Qaddafi regime must also handover to the state the operation of numerous prisons and prisoners under their control.
Whilst five Tripoli brigades have handed over their bases in Tripoli since last Friday, the Justice Minister was keen to extend this action to militia bases where prisoners were being held and where human rights violations were being committed.
Maraghni, stressed that a committee had been formed to handle the handover process of prisons and prisoners, and he called on the general public to give this committee “time to conduct its work”.
The Justice Minister was no doubt keen to avoid any unruly scenes at prisons caused by civilians trying to force militias out of the sites, with the possibility of unintended consequences towards prisoners held within them.
With this in mind, Maraghni went out of his way to call upon the general public to steer clear of the Al-Hadba Prison, where Qaddafi’s former head of intelligence Abdullah Senussi is being held.
Last week, drowned in all the emotions and excitement in reaction to the Gharghour killings, a rumour, that the authorities quickly quashed, was circulated that Senussi had escaped or that there was an attempt to break him free of the Al-Hadba prison.
Maraghni’s singling out of Senusi’s prison may have been a preemptive move against any attempt by Senusi supporters to take advantage of the current situation.
The Justice Minister has stressed in the past the need to have prisoners held by none official bodies handed over as militias are not qualified to deal with prisoners or operate prisons.
Moreover, a respected human rights activist prior to taking up his Ministerial post, Maraghni had not hesitated in raising alarms about torture and deaths within Libyan militia-controlled prisons, an issue highlighted by a damning UN report back in October this year. [/restrict]