Libya: Rights record slammed

2009-12-11 12:07

Tripoli - A foundation run by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son Seif al-Islam catalogued an array of cases of torture, wrongful imprisonment and other abuses in a report for 2009 published on Thursday.

The report by the Gaddafi Foundation also sharply criticised the continuing domination of the print and broadcast media by the state. The few non-state media are all controlled by a publishing company run by the younger Gaddafii.

The report recorded "several flagrant violations" of human rights in Libya during the year, including "cases of torture and ill-treatment" as well as a number of "blatant and premeditated breaches of the law".

The report condemned "all forms of torture" and called for the lifting of the "immunity granted by laws of exception to employees of various state agencies."

It also called for a full liberalisation of the media in Libya.

"Even though the current law on publications allows for the launch of privately owned titles, the restrictions and obstacles to obtaining a publishing licence remain in place," it complained.

It called too for the repeal or amendment of laws restricting the setting up of non-governmental organisations.

The publication of the Gaddafi Foundation's human rights report, its first since it was set up in 1999, came just two days before New York-based watchdog Human Rights Watch is due to bring out its own report on Libya.

In recent years, Seif al-Islam Gaddafi has been a prominent voice for reform in Libya, advocating a freer press, a mixed economy and greater cultural rights for the country's Berber minority.

He has also been a leading figure in Libya's slow rapprochement with the West.