By Sami Zaptia.
London, 13 June 2016:
The Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigade, the Tripoli militia led by the controversial Hatham Tajuri (real surname El Gaily), has denied any role in the murder of 12 Qaddafi-era prisoners released by the Libyan judiciary last week.
The 12 had been held in prison accused of murdering unarmed demonstrators in 2011 but were released due to insufficient evidence. They were allegedly shot in the head.
The Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigade condemned the ‘’outrageous (and) shameful act’’. They also criticised the courts for withholding the victims’ passports, preventing them from travelling abroad for their safety.
While offering to help pursue those responsible for the recent executions, they called upon the courts not be lenient with those accused of blood crimes.
The Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigade is believed to have been forced into this denial by widespread, but uncorroborated, accusations in social media that they were complicit in the murders. They were accused together with former members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) who are in charge of the Ruwemi prison holding Qaddafi-era prisoners.
There is at present no evidence to back up these accusations.
‘‘With regards to what happened to the accused who were released from Ruwaimi prison, we inform all before God that we cannot possibly accept this outrageous violation as part of our values practices and we strongly deplore it’’, they said in their statement released in the early hours today.
‘‘It is not in our usual practice or our principle to bully unarmed civilians devoid of means of self-defence, and we do not call for people to take the law into their own hands or for taking right or justice outside the judiciary’’, they added.
‘‘We are in support of the public prosecutor and the investigations to find the perpetrators and discovering their identity and anyone who planned for this shameful act. We will help in pursuing those responsible and bring them to justice’’, they promised.
‘‘While at the same time we call upon the judiciary to exercise a lack of haste and a lack of leniency in cases that had involved bloodletting and intolerance especially in such cases where the accused, if correctly accused, were involved in killing innocent civilians in 2011‘’, the statement continued.
‘’And if the judiciary was responsible for their premature release prior to the court completing their case or clearing them of their crimes, then it doesn’t make sense to release them and keep hold of their passports, especially with the spread of weapons and lack of complete control over armed individuals and formations (militias).
‘’And we don’t say this with the desire to spread fear. When we confront a subject we confront it openly in front of everyone. We don’t appease or humour anyone. Whoever is happy is happy and whoever is unhappy is unhappy. Nobody can rise above a right cause.”
It will be recalled that the Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigades are one of the many Tripoli-based militias implicitly or explicitly supporting the UN-brokered Presidency Council (PC), headed by Faiez Serraj.
The PC has condemned the murder of the 12 and ordered a formal investigation to find out what happened and who was responsible.
The order followed a press conference Saturday by a spokesman from the Attorney General’s office at which he confirmed the discovery yesterday of the 12 bodies – six in Wadi Rabie near Ain Zara, three that had been thrown from a moving vehicle near the morgue at Tripoli Central Hospital, and three thrown in the same manner near the morgue at Tripoli Medical Centre.
The House of Representatives has also condemned the acts of murder.