By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli/Tunis, 2 February 2015:
The House of Representatives today shelved the controversial Political Isolation Law (PIL) which prevents prominent Qaddafi-era . . .[restrict]figures from holding any state posts until 2023. It has reportedly frozen it until the new constitution is passed and a new parliament in place.
According to Benghazi HoR member Aisa Al-Araibi 101 members had attended the session. All had voted for the decision he told the Libya Herald.
It has not been possible to get through to phones in Tobruk for some hours to confirm number or the exact wording of the decision.
HoR members had made it known for some time that they intended to take action on the law, but it was widely expected that they would simply amend it.
It was passed by the General National Congress in May 2013 following amid widespread allegations that members were intimidated into doing so by a coalition of revolutionaries and Islamists. In the run-up to its passing, PIL supporters seized and held the Foreign and Justice ministries in Tripoli to put pressure on Congress to back the law.
It has appeared unjust to many both inside and outside the country. It resulted in individuals who had risked their lives battling against the Qaddafi regime for years, such as former Congress President Mohamed Magarief, or who had supported the revolution from the outset, such as National Transitional Council Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil, being cast aside while others who had actively worked with the regime to the end and only started supporting the revolution when it became apparent it was winning were left untouched.
Within days of the law being approved, former UN Special Envoy to Libya Tarek Mitri called it unjust.
Later in 2013, the Libyan National Council for Human Rights and Civil Liberties announced it was launching an appeal against it on the grounds that it infringed the rights of Libyans and contravened the August 2011 Constitutional Declaration. Other activist groups challenged it on the basis that it had been passed under duress.
The appeal was then formally submitted to the Supreme Court but it has shown little willingness to address the matter. Last June, the announced that it would not rule on the matter on the grounds that it was being intimidated by pro-PIL protestors outside the building. Last month, it put off a decision on the appeal, saying it would reconvene to study it on 22 February.
Today’s passing of the law is not expected to make any difference on the ground. In areas supporting the HoR, the law has already been bypassed. Elsewhere, those who support the PIL are almost certain to also consider the HoR illegitimate, and therefore its laws of no consequence. [/restrict]