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Libya: Sentencing of eleven human rights defenders
Front Line is deeply concerned following the sentencing of human rights defenders Al Sadiq Qashut, Ahmad Yusif Al Ubaidi, Jamal Al Haji, a writer who has worked to defend freedom of speech, Al Al Dirsi, Faraj Humaid, Ali Humaid, Al Mahdi Humaid, Al Sadiq Salih Humaid, Dr Idris Boufayed, Farid Al Zuwi and Bashir Al Haris to between six and twenty-five years' imprisonment, on 10 June 2008. The eleven human rights defenders were sentenced for planning a peaceful demonstration which was due to take place on 17 February 2007 to commemorate the first anniversary of a demonstration in the city of Benghazi, in which eleven demonstrators were killed when the demonstration was violently broken up by the police.
Posted 17/06/2008 On 10 June 2008, Dr Idris Boufayed, the main organiser of the peaceful demonstration, was sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment; Al Mahdi Humaid, Al Sadiq Salih Humaid, Faraj Humaid and Ahmad Yusif Al Ubaidi were sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment; Jamal Al Haji was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment; Al Sadiq Qashut was sentenced to 7 years' imprisonment; Al Al Dirsi was sentenced to 6 and a half years' imprisonment; and Ali Humaid, Farid Al Zuwi and Bashir Al Haris were sentenced to 6 years' imprisonment.
They had been arrested on 15 and 16 February 2007 as part of a group of fourteen human rights defenders for organising a demonstration. They were convicted of planning to overthrow the government and meeting with a foreign official. The Danish citizenship of Jamal Al Haji has not been recognised. Days before his arrest, Jamal Al Haji published an article which called for “freedom, democracy, a constitutional state, and law” in Libya. In violation of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the Danish Government's request to visit Jamal Al Haji has been refused.
Dr Idris Boufayed is reportedly suffering from advanced lung cancer.
Of the other three human rights defenders arrested last year, Adil Humaid was released on 10 June 2008 and Jum'a Boufayed, the brother of Dr Idris Boufayed, was released on 27 May 2008, but Abd Al Rahman Al Qotaiwi has been missing since his arrest.
Front Line believes that Al Sadiq Qashut, Ahmad Yusif Al Ubaidi, Jamal Al Haji, Al Al Dirsi, Faraj Humaid, Ali Humaid, Al Mahdi Humaid, Al Sadiq Salih Humaid, Dr Idris Boufayed, Farid Al Zuwi and Bashir Al Haris have been targeted as a result of their legitimate work in the defence of human rights in Libya. Front Line is concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of these human rights defenders.