Libyan Human Rights Organisation Calls for Urgent Health Pardon for Al-Senussi

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On Sunday, the National Commission for Human Rights in Libya (NCHRL) called for an urgent health pardon for Gaddafi’s intelligence chief, Abdullah Al-Senussi after a deterioration of his health, due to cancer.

The NCHRL said that it is “following up with great concern the initial information circulated by the Al-Senussi family regarding the deterioration of his health.” He remains detained in Tripoli’s Mitiga prison.

“Medical reports show that cancerous cells in the liver have reactivated. Al-Senussi also suffers from prostate cancer and lymphoma, which results in a decrease in the body’s immunity,” the NCHRL added.

“Preventing and depriving prisoners of their rights to receive treatment constitutes a grave violation of the rule of law and justice,” it added.

The Commission called on the Ministry of Justice and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to urgently intervene, in order to provide medical care to Al-Senussi.

Abdullah Al-Senussi, brother-in-law of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi, was sentenced to death in 2015, alongside eight other senior officials. This was over his part in the regime’s response to the NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

The Abu Salim Prison massacre took place on 29 June 1996, allegedly killing about 1,269 prisoners, after an attempted prison break. Most of the dead belonged to Islamic groups, and although the majority of them were Libyans, several Arab nationals were reportedly killed.

Last month, the Tripoli Court of Appeal referred Al-Senussi to the military judiciary over the Abu Salim prison massacre, his lawyer Ahmed Neshad said.

Neshad added in press remarks that he will start a new round of legal debates, after the civilian court ruled that it lacked jurisdiction because the accused was a military officer. He also demanded a health pardon for his “sick” client.

“My client’s health condition requires medical care that is not available to him in his prison cell. He underwent a heart catheterization operation two months ago. The medical recommendations are clear about the necessity to get a health pardon to follow up his health status in capable hospitals,” his lawyer explained.

Al-Senussi was extradited in September 2012 by Mauritania, where he had fled after Gaddafi’s fall. Similarly to Gaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam, he had also been the subject of an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for suspected war crimes during the 2011 uprising.