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STOCKHOLM - Skyline International strongly condemns the 15-year prison sentence issued by a military court against a journalist in eastern Libya, which is under the control of retired Major General Khalifa Haftar.

The Stockholm-based Skyline states that the appearance of the journalist, Ismail Abu Zriba, before a military rather than a civilian court is a legal violation. In addition, there is no justification for his arrest and trial.

"Skyline" indicates that the journalist Abu Zriba was kidnapped by Major General Haftar's forces in 2018 while he was covering a cultural event in "Ajdabiya" city. He was charged with working with the "Al-Nabaa" channel opposing the retired Libyan brigade.

The international organization has testimonies that journalist Abu Zriba had no lawyer present during his arrest and trial. This flagrantly violates fair trial guarantees and restricts freedom of opinion and expression.

The court did not clarify the charges against the journalist Abu Zriba, but it is common in eastern Libya that lawyers, activists, media outlets and even judges are exposed to several human rights violations of freedom of expression.

Skyline International calls for the immediate release of the journalist Abu Zriba as his continued detention and trial from a military court violates Libya's laws and international commitments of the right to a fair trial and freedom of opinion and expression.

Skyline stresses that international humanitarian law states that civilian journalists who practice their job in conflict areas shall be respected and protected from every form of intentional attack. Article 79 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 states that "journalists shall be protected as such under the Conventions and this Protocol, provided that they take no action adversely affecting their status as civilians."