The United Nations and Amnesty International has condemned the Libyan authorities’ crackdown on a number of civil society organizations, specifically, the Tripoli-based Tanweer Movement.
This comes after the Internal Security Agency (ISA) recorded, and publicly posted on social media, a series of videos showing the movement’s members’ “confessions” of “promoting atheism” in Libya, according to ISA’s allegations.
“The ISA arrested the seven young men between November and March 2022,” Amnesty International explained in a statement on Wednesday.
“Following their arrest, they were detained in the ISA’s Tripoli headquarters before being transferred to either Al-Jadida prison or the Mitiga prison, the latter of which is run by the Deterrence Apparatus for Combating Organized Crime and Terrorism — a militia notorious for its involvement in prolonged arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and torture with total impunity,” said Amnesty International.
“The men were forced to “confess” under coercive circumstances without the presence of lawyers,” added the international NGO.
#Libya | The ISA has arrested at least 7 men for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression & detained them arbitrarily.
Authorities must stop the ISA’s vicious campaign against people exercising their rights & release those detained.https://t.co/VF2lNSXNtq
— Amnesty MENA (@AmnestyMENA) March 23, 2022
Echoing Amnesty International’s remarks, the United Nations said it “received allegations that these confessions were obtained by coercion, raising serious concerns regarding the use of torture, which is absolutely prohibited.”
“These confessions also implicate several other men and women, many of whom have now gone into hiding after receiving death threats,” the U.N. said in a statement on Friday.
Both Amnesty International and the U.N. have called on the Libyan authorities to stop targeting Libyans and uphold their right to freedom of expression. They also called on the authorities to investigate the alleged human rights violations committed by the ISA.
Tanweer Movement, a Tripoli-based civil society organization, was co-founded in 2013 by Libyan author Ahmed Elbukhari who also has been serving as its chairman since 2015, according to Elbukhari’s website.
Amnesty International described Tanweer Movement as a “Libyan organization that campaigns for LGBTI rights and women’s rights”.
The ISA crackdown forced the organization to dissolve itself and shut down its operations and activities on March 13.
#Libya: We are concerned by deepening crackdown on civil society & call on authorities to stop the campaign against rights defenders & release all those arbitrarily detained. A safe, open & democratic space built on freedom of expression+association is key:https://t.co/oT9xvXNFlc pic.twitter.com/EoPVPcaTk3
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) March 25, 2022