Libya executed more people in 2010 than any other African state. Current laws allow capital punishment for high treason; attempt to forcibly change the form of government; premeditated murder

Libyan court sentences Gaddafi son Saif, eight other ex-officials to death

July 28, 2015

A Libyan court on Tuesday sentenced Muammar Gaddafi’s most prominent son, Saif al-Islam, and eight others to death for war crimes including killings of protesters during the 2011 revolution that ended his father’s rule.
The former Gaddafi regime officials sentenced to die by firing squad included former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi and ex-prime minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, Sadiq al-Sur, chief investigator at the Tripoli state prosecutor’s office, told a televised news conference in Tripoli.
The trial outcome drew swift criticism abroad, with Human Rights Watch and a prominent international lawyer saying it was riddled with legal flaws and carried out amid widespread lawlessness undermining the credibility of the judiciary.
Eight ex-officials received life sentences and seven jail terms of 12 years each, Sadiq said. Four of the 37 defendants were acquitted, others got shorter jail terms.
Muammar Gaddafi himself was killed by rebels who captured him after months on the run.
Sadiq did not spell out the charges on which the verdict was based, referring to the expected written ruling. Defendants had been accused of a range of offences including the use of deadly force against unarmed demonstrators, as well as corruption.
The verdict on Saif al-Islam was passed in absentia in Tripoli since he has been held since 2011 by a former rebel group in the mountainous Zintan region beyond central government control. Factional disorder and conflict now plagues Libya.
Saif appeared by video link only at the start of the trial. The Zintanis have refused to hand him over, saying they do not trust authorities in Tripoli to make sure he does not escape, but agreed to let him be tried there.
The sentences can be appealed and must be confirmed by Libya’s Supreme Court, but legal experts and rights advocates said the proceeding was tainted and politicized from the start.
Source: Reuters, July 28, 2015

New video shows ISIS militants throwing gay men off building

Yet another video has been released by ISIS showing the brutal execution of two men accused of being gay.

The latest video from ISIS, shot in Palmyra, shows two Syrian men be thrown off a building before being stoned to death.
According to local journalist Zaid Benjamin, the men were accused of “having a homosexual affair”.
Images shared on social media showed the two men being led to the top of the three-storey building as their judgement was read out by an ISIS member.
As with other videos released by the terrorist group, a large crowd of local residents gathered around to see the incident.
The terrorist group, which operates predominantly across Syria and Iraq, is notorious for filming videos in which captives – usually Westerners or opposing fighters – are brutally slaughtered.
It has also taken to executing men it claims are gay, by throwing them off of tall buildings and pelting them with rocks in IS-produced videos.
Members of the terrorist group, which has published a number of graphic videos featuring the murder of supposed gay men, holds power across parts of Iraq, Syria and Libya.
ISIS militants recently threatened to throw homosexuals off the Leaning Tower of “Pizza”.
Members of ISIS took to Twitter to warn that they were coming to “Rome” to “use your leaning tower of pizza to throw off homosexuals”.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa – which is not spelled Pizza – is actually located in the town of Pisa, nearly 200 miles from Rome.

Source: Pink News, Joseph Patrick McCormick, July 24, 2015

Libya politicians escape death penalty over cartoon

march 2 , 2014

2 Libyan politicians on trial over a cartoon said to be offensive to Islam on Sunday had charges that could have led to the death penalty dismissed, their lawyer said.

“The court gave its verdict. It decided on a dismissal of the 3 main charges” which carried a possible death penalty in the case of a conviction, lawyer Abdelmajid al-Mayet said.

Ali Tekbali and Fathi Saguer of the Libyan National Party were instead fined for “inciting discord among Libyans”, their lawyer said, adding that he would appeal the ruling.

The men were accused of the “promotion and possession of… drawings insulting to Islam and the prophet” after they used a cartoon published by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on a party poster during the 2012 legislative election campaign.

The cartoon showed a group of men discussing the role of women in society, and Tekbali and Saguer said they had found the picture showing a bearded man without knowing that it depicted the Prophet Mohammed.

“The cartoon caused an uproar because, unintentionally, it featured the same character used to depict the Prophet Mohammed in an anti-Islamic comic published by… Charlie Hebdo. However, the Libyan poster made no reference to Islam or the Prophet Mohammed,” Amnesty International said on Thursday.

Before the verdict, the London-based rights watchdog had called “for the charges against them to be dropped immediately”.

“It is shocking that 2 political figures may face a firing squad over a cartoon that was published on an electoral campaign poster,” said Amnesty’s Said Boumedouha.

“No one should be prosecuted for freely expressing his or her views in public — however offensive they may seem to others.”

(source: Global Post)

Libya: Politicians face death penalty over blasphemous cartoon

february 27, 2014 (amnesty international)

Two politicians could be sentenced to death over a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam when a verdict is issued in their case on Sunday 2 March, said Amnesty International. The organization is calling for the charges against them to be dropped immediately.

The cartoon, which depicts a group of men discussing the role of women in society, appeared on a Libyan National Party electoral campaign poster in the main streets of Libyan cities ahead of parliamentary elections in 2012.

“It is shocking that two political figures may face a firing squad over a cartoon that was published on an electoral campaign poster. No one should be prosecuted for freely expressing his or her views in public – however offensive they may seem to others,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

“Libyans must be free to speak their minds, regardless of whether those views are expressed verbally, or appear on a poster, in a poem or a newspaper article. It is ludicrous that doing so could be considered a crime punishable by death.”

The cartoon caused an uproar because, unintentionally, it featured the same character used to depict the Prophet Mohammed in anti-Islamic comic published by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. However, the Libyan poster made no reference to Islam or the Prophet Mohammed.

Ali Tekbali and Fathi Sager, both members of the Libyan National Party, were charged nearly a year ago with a string of offences including “promoting and possessing satirical drawings offensive to Islam and the Prophet” and “instigating discord” between Libyans over the publication of the cartoon. The offices of the Libyan National Party, a moderate political party, were raided in November 2012 by a state-affiliated militia and have been closed since then by order of the prosecution.

“The charges against them are absurd. The poster makes no reference to religion. The fact that this case was not dismissed from the outset sends a chilling message that freedom of expression in Libya is under serious threat,” said Said Boumedouha.

Fathi Sagher told Amnesty International last week that he was hoping for the best and putting his faith in the fact that “some judges in the Libyan courts are fair and courageous enough to do the right thing.”

Ali Tekbali told Amnesty International that he had hoped the poster would challenge stereotypes of women held by some groups in Libya.

Libyans are currently in the process of shaping the future of post-al-Gaddafi Libya. Elections for an assembly to draft a new constitution took place last week amidst reports of violence and protests in some areas. A re-run of elections in polling stations, where violence prevented voting was held yesterday.

“Libya is at a critical juncture. Once elected, the constitutional assembly will have a responsibility to safeguard freedom of expression and enshrine women’s rights and other human rights principles in the new constitution to prevent future attempts to curtail freedoms,” said Said Boumedouha.

“In a climate of such change, open debate and different opinions should be encouraged, not hushed up and swept beneath the carpet.”

In recent months the Libyan authorities have increased curbs on freedom of expression across the country with a series of measures introduced to clamp down on free speech. Three weeks ago an al-Gaddafi era law banning insults to the state was revived and amended to protect the“17 February Revolution”. Earlier a ban on satellite stations broadcasting views perceived as hostile to the “17 February Revolution” was also introduced.

“Libya’s laws need to be drastically reviewed and brought in line with international standards on human rights. Any clauses that prescribe the death penalty and criminalize free expression must be expunged immediately,” said Said Boumedouha.

In another case illustrating the repressive crackdown on freedom of expression, Amara al-Khattabi, editor of al-Umma Newspaper, is facing up to 15 years in prison for publishing a list of 84 judges whom he alleges were corrupt. His trial is expected to resume on 2 March. Amnesty International is calling for all charges against him to be dropped.

Problematic articles within Libya’s Penal Code

Fathi Sager and Ali Tekbali are prosecuted on charges under Articles 203, 207 and 291 of the Penal Code all of which place undue restrictions on freedom of expression and contravene Libya’s international human rights obligations and the Constitutional declaration adopted on 3 August 2011 which guarantees freedom of expression.

Article 203 of the Penal Code provides the death penalty for any act “aiming at initiating a civil war in the country, or fragmenting national unity, or seeking to cause discord” between Libyans.

Article 207 prescribes the death penalty for promoting “theories or principles” with a view of changing the fundamental principles of the constitution or the fundamental structures of the social system” or “overthrowing the state’s political, social and economic systems”.

Article 291 criminalizes blasphemy and prescribes a two-year prison term for insults to Islam, “the Divine being”, the Prophet and other prophets.

The two politicians were also wrongly charged under Article 318 of the Penal Code, which prescribes a one-year prison term and a fine for anyone who “publicly instigates hate or contempt” for a  religious community in a manner that disturbs public security.

Under international law, restrictions on freedom of expression are allowed only on specific grounds, such as protecting national security, public order, or the rights of others. Such restrictions may only be imposed if absolutely necessary. Amnesty International believes that imprisonment would always be a disproportionate measure.

LIBYA: Former Gadafy minister given death sentence

Court finds Ahmed Ibrahim guilty of plotting to kill civilians and undermining security.

A former minister in the government of Muammar Gadafy was sentenced to death today for inciting violence against protesters during the uprising that led to the Libyan dictator’s overthrow in 2011, his lawyer said.

In the 1st such ruling against a Gadafy-era official, a court in Misrata found Ahmed Ibrahim guilty of undermining national security and plotting the killing of civilians, the lawyer, Salim Dans, said.

He said Libya’s supreme court would have to confirm the ruling for the death penalty to be implemented.

Ibrahim held several senior positions including education and information minister. He was captured by Misratan rebel fighters in Gadafy’s hometown Sirte, the last bastion in the former leader’s fight to hold onto power. Gadafy was captured and killed in October 2011.

Libya’s new rulers, who aim to draw up a democratic constitution this year, are keen to try Gadafy’s family members and loyalists at home to show citizens that those who helped him stay in power for 42 years are being punished.

Human rights activists worry legal proceedings will not meet international standards. Libya’s weak central government is trying to reform the judiciary while struggling to stabilise the country and tame the militias that fought Gadafy’s forces.

The most prominent person facing trial is Gadafy’s son Saif al-Islam. Libya has appealed a ruling by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to hand him over to the tribunal, which wants to try him for alleged crimes committed during the 2011 uprising.

Libya has challenged the ICC’s right to put Saif al-Islam on trial on the grounds that it is planning its own proceedings. It argues the international court in The Hague has no jurisdiction because it should intervene only if the local legal system is not up to the task.

(source: Irish Times)