By Ajnaddin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 29 October 2014:
The Grand Mufti of Libya Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani has been banned from further travel to the . . .[restrict]United Kingdom.
The British Home Office this afternoon issued a Risk and Liaison Overseas Network (RALON) order excluding him. Not only does the ban mean that the Mufti would be barred from entering the UK, but any airline or shipping company that brought him to a British point of entry could be fined up to £2,000 and obliged to return him to his point of departure.
The Home Office was saying this evening that it refused to comment on individual cases. However the Libya Herald understands that the ban on Ghariani stems from statements he made this summer while last in the United Kingdom. During what aides said was a four-month stay for medical treatment, the Grand Mufti made a television broadcast in which he called on Libya Dawn forces to crush the Zintanis and Operation Dignity.
At the start of September, Ghariani left Britain for Qatar before returning to Tripoli. There were reports at the time that his departure came ahead of plans by the UK authorities to arrest him for inciting violence and murder and thus acting in violation of his visa conditions. This would probably have led to his deportation, which would have meant an automatic ban on returning to Britain, where he has relatives.
The RALON order now confirms the Grand Mufti as an undesirable visitor to the UK.
It is not thought that the action against Ghariani is part of the wider financial sanctions and travel bans that the United Nations Security Council has been drafting, which, if negotiations fail, are likely to affect a raft of individuals implicated in the fighting in Tripoli and Benghazi.