UN Voices Concerns over Arbitrary Arrests Against Protesters in Libya


The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) expressed its concern about a wave of arbitrary arrests and detentions in eastern and western Libya. This is following the 1 July demonstrations against the deteriorating living conditions, and demands for elections.

In a thread on its Twitter account, UNSMIL added that “Numerous protestors, including children, have been abducted and/or arrested by State authorities and armed actors. Abdelmajid Al-Gharaf, a 69-year-old retiree with health problems, was seized in front of a mosque in Tobruk on 15 July. His whereabouts remain unknown.”

“On the same day, a spokesperson for the 1 July demonstrations, Shafiq Omar, disappeared from Suq Al-Juma, in Tripoli, and was released today,” UNSMIL noted.

The mission called for the immediate and unconditional release of Al-Gharaf and all others who have been arbitrarily detained. “Libyans must be free to peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.”

On 1 July, protests against political institutions broke out on almost all sides of the messy conflict, as a result of anger over power outages and the numerous other failures of the country’s bickering factional leaders.

The largest such protest in years took place in Martyrs Square in Tripoli, where several hundred people took part. In Tobruk, demonstrators attacked the Parliament building, and set parts of it on fire.

The protests were called over the electrical shortage, despite the fact that there were other issues as well, demonstrating how minor annoyances can worsen in Libya’s unstable political environment.