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HRW urges Libya to amend new security law

Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Friday urged Libya's ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) [official website] to amend a new law [press release] that protects people who committed crimes during last year's Libya conflict [JURIST backgrounder]. The new law protects from prosecution those whose actions were focused on "promoting or protecting the revolution" against Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive]. Additionally, the law allows police to detain people who are considered "threats to security" for up to two months. According to HRW, the law should be amended immediately because "[h]olding accountable all those responsible for serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law is critical for the new Libya to be based on the rule of law." HRW is also concerned that the portion of the law allowing for prolonged detention, because they argue that such detentions should be "based on concrete evidence of wrongdoing rather than on past affiliations." The law is set to take effect Saturday.

This is just the latest criticism of the new laws enacted by the provisional NTC since the Libyan revolution. Last week HRW urged the NTC to revoke a new law [JURIST report] that criminalizes criticism of the Libya conflict and prohibits glorification of former leader Gaddafi. Last month UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official profile] urged Libyan officials to investigate the allegations of human rights abuse [JURIST report] in the country during the uprising against Gaddafi. In February Amnesty International [advocacy website] accused the ruling NTC of allowing the abuse and torture [JURIST report] of supporters of the former leader by unofficial militias. In January UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] addressed the UN Security Council [official website] expressing concern over alleged current human rights violations [JURIST report] in Libya. Earlier that month Middle East rights groups alleged human rights violations [JURIST report] and that all parties involved, including NATO, committed acts ranging from use of excessive force against protesters to cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners during detention.

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