HRW Urges Libya to Reveal Fate of Imam Moussa Sadr

jos_news_musa_sadr-219x300 Human Rights Watch has urged Libyan authorities to reveal during an Arab summit it is hosting this weekend the fate of missing people, including prominent Lebanese Shiite cleric Imam Moussa Sadr. The New-York based rights watchdog said Libya should also provide information about two of its own citizens who went missing 20 years ago after they were returned home from Egypt where authorities had arrested them. “One of the themes of this Arab League summit is reconciliation,” HRW Middle East and North Africa director Sarah Leah Whitson said in a statement released late Friday. “Libya should use this opportunity to inform the families who have been suffering the pain of not knowing where their loved ones are,” she added. Lebanese President Michel Sleiman is boycotting the summit in Sirte amid a lingering dispute with Libya over the disappearance of Imam Sadr, and has sent his country’s ambassador to Cairo instead. HRW acknowledged that Libyan authorities began in 2008 “for the first time” to address the case of hundreds of people who disappeared “in connection with a massacre at the Abu Salim prison in 1996.” “Over the past year, the authorities have informed at least 800 families that their loved ones perished at the prison in 1996, offering compensation in exchange for relinquishing any legal claims. But many other Libyan disappearance cases remain unresolved,” it said. It specifically mentioned Libyan opposition figures Jaballa Hamed Matar and Izzat al-Megaryef, who it said were arrested by Egyptian security forces in Cairo in March 1990. “Their families later learned that Egyptian security forces had handed them over the next day to Libyan security officials, who detained them in Abu Salim prison,” HRW said, adding they have not been heard of since. “Disappearances are a continuous crime for which the Libyan government is responsible,” Whitson said. She urged Libya to “tell the truth about what happened to these victims” and to “provide reparation and prosecute those responsible for their disappearance.


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