Abduction of Libyan Journalist Following Start of New Government Leaves Repercussions on Human rights Violations
Madrid – Skyline International states that the disappearance of Libya’s al-Ghad al-Arabi television journalist Ziyad al-Warfali by the security services requires a serious investigation into the circumstances of the incident. It stresses that the Libyan government should bring perpetrators to justice.
In its statement today, Sunday, Skyline International stressed that enforced disappearance of the Libyan journalist, who had been released three days after the incident, is an appalling and unacceptable practice. The authorities should provide full details of his arrest and disappearance, since the security authorities have not presented any judicial or arrest warrant against him. Hence, this action flagrantly violates both the Libyan and international law.
Skyline International points out that " al-Warfali disappeared after the conference with newly appointed Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah late Thursday in Tripoli to announce his government. At the news conference, al-Warfali asked about the fate of Hannibal Gaddafi, the son of Libya’s late leader Muammar Gaddafi, who has been detained in Lebanon. He also asked about the unification of Libya’s army. Journalists consider that these questions maybe the reason behind the arrest of al-Warfali, as they are controversial .
The National Syndicate of Libyan Journalists issued a press release commenting on the incident, in which it held "the Presidency Council, the Libyan government, and the Ministry of Interior, accountable for al-Warfali's disappearance. It also called them for revealing his fate and bringing the perpetrators to justice immediately." Moreover, the Syndicate said that it "would continue to closely follow developments, and all parties' efforts until al-Warfali is freed. In addition, it affirmed that it will not hesitate to defend the safety and freedom of journalists.
Skyline International indicates that the Libyan government has not issued any official statement from the moment of the kidnapping of "al-Warfalli" and even after his release. It only said that he had been detained by a security agency but did not mention which of Libya's many, often competing, security agencies detained him. This raises questions about who and what motives are behind the kidnapping.
Mohammed Imad, Skyline's Director of Legal Affairs and Policies, said, "the enforced disappearance of al-Warfalli is a serious matter that requires accountability, stressing that such practices took place following the start of the new Libyan government's leadership. Unfortunately, this reflects a disturbing impression about the future of freedoms and journalism in light of the lack of legal institutions' oversight and security instability in the country. "
Imad added, ''the Libyan government is required to open a serious investigation into the repercussions of the incident and to bring violators to justice, as the disappearance of the Libyan journalist clearly violets freedom of opinion, expression and media work’s regulations."
Concluding its statement, Skyline International stressed that Universal Human Rights Declaration and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees freedom of opinion and expression and the exercise of journalistic work by spreading, publishing, and discussing information without restriction or prosecution. It further emphasized the need to provide full protection and freedom for journalists to exercise their duties. The new Libyan government’s priorities should start from empowering individuals to obtain their rights instead of restricting and arresting them.