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UN experts call on Libya to reveal fate of kidnapped activist, investigate his kidnapping incident, and punish the perpetrators

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News briefing 

Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice 

Geneva, September 2, 2021 

United Nations human rights experts have sent a memo regarding the abduction and possible enforced disappearance of the human rights defender, journalist, and the head of the Libyan Red Crescent Society and the Civil Society Commission in Ajdabiya in Libya, Mansour Mohamed Atti al-Maghrabi. 

Kidnapping and unknown fate: 

According to a memorandum sent on July 2, 2021, which has not been responded to yet, on May 26 2021, al-Maghrabi participated in a meeting of a joint committee formed by the Civil Society Commission and the High National Election Commission, which was aimed to prepare for civil society monitoring of the national elections scheduled for December 24, 2021. On May 31 2021, al-Maghrabi led a conference in Ajdabiya aimed at mobilizing citizen participation in these same elections. 

The experts added that on June 3, 2021, while al-Maghrabi was driving his car in the centre of the city of Ajdabiya, armed men in three Toyota cars intercepted his car and arrested him, taking him to an unconfirmed place, noting that since this date, the fate of al-Maghrabi and his whereabouts remain unknown. 

Previous security harassment and intimidation: 

The experts pointed out that al-Maghrabi was previously subjected to intimidation and harassment by the Internal Security Agency in Ajdabiya, where he was summoned and interrogated by the Internal Security Agency on December 24, 2020, and February 13, 2021, about his work in civil society. During these interrogations, he was accused of being a dangerous person who promotes foreign agendas. He was also arrested by Internal Security Agency agents at an event he organized to promote youth participation in the planned December elections and was interrogated again before being released.  

In their memo, the experts expressed their deep concern about the kidnapping of al-Maghrabi, which they fear that it is directly connected to his civil society work, especially his monitoring of the upcoming elections and that he may be detained by the Internal Security Service, in which his kidnapping may amount to a case enforced disappearance.   

UN demands from the Libyan government: 

The experts demanded that the Libyan government provide any available information, as a matter of urgency, about the fate and whereabouts of al-Maghrabi. In the event of his arrest, they called on the government to provide details of the legal and factual bases for this arrest and his continued detention, as well as details of the measures taken to ensure that he has access to a lawyer and to contact his family. If he is not arrested, the experts demanded a statement of the steps taken to investigate his kidnapping and to hold the perpetrators accountable.  

The experts also called on Libya to state the measures that have been taken to ensure that human rights defenders are able to carry out their peaceful and legitimate work in a safe and enabling environment without fear of threats or acts of intimidation and harassment of any kind. 

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