In an unprecedented move, the Judicial Police in Libya held an evening banquet for death row prisoners, in the presence of their families, the first of its kind in the country.
“Holding this banquet is a new precedent that has never happened in reform institutions in the country,” said the Director of the Media office of the Judicial Police, Ahmed Abu Kraa.
Abu Kraa said “All the inmates have been sentenced to death, and all of them have been accused of criminal cases. None of them have political, terrorism, or other civil cases.”
Abu Kraa explained that between 150 and 180 inmatewere expected to participate in the banquet.
“The death sentence was not carried out due to the absence of the role of the state,” he said. As well as adding that the “execution of sentences is necessary, because it is the right of those who have suffered harm by them. Inmates of this prison have committed at least one murder, while others have committed between 3 and 5 murders.”
He noted that the “absence of the role of the state, the neglect of youth clubs, and the lack of job opportunities, training, and rehabilitation, increased the number of murders in Libya.”
Deputy Head of the Libyan Presidential Council, Abdullah Al-Lafi received the Minister of Justice of the Government of National Unity (GNU), Halima Ibrahim on Sunday.
Al-Lafi appealed that all inmates including death row prisoners should be “treated humanely, their basic rights respected, and that their cases be brought before the judiciary.”
Ibrahim expressed her commitment to “improving the conditions of prisoners, ensuring that their cases are dealt with in a timely manner, and working with the concerned authorities to expedite criminal sentencing procedures.”
In January 2022, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, said in a report that thousands of detainees are held illegally and often in inhumane conditions in facilities controlled by armed groups or secret facilities in Libya. He added that over 12,000 detainees are held officially in 27 prisons and detention facilities across Libya, according to a report obtained by the Associated Press (AP.)
Guterres said in the report that the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) continues to document cases of arbitrary detention, torture, sexual violence and other violations of international law in facilities operated by the government and other groups.
At least 12,000 detainees with no official data from Libyan authorities are unable to challenge the legal basis for their continued detention.