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Libya declares martial law in southern region

The Libyan government closed the country's southern border [Libyan News Agency report, in Arabic] with Algeria, Niger, Chad and Sudan on Sunday and declared southern Libya as a military zone. The move was in response to growing lawlessness [Al Jazeera report] in Libya's southern provinces of Ghadames, Ghat, Obari, Al-Shati, Sebha, Murzuq and Kufra. Representatives of the southern provinces had been boycotting legislative sessions due to the government's failure to assist them in curbing the lawlessness in the region. Government officials indicated that the closure would only last until order has restored to the region. There was indication that some of the problems in the southern provinces were due to deteriorating conditions in Mali [JURIST report] and the expected resulting international military response.

Violence and abuse in Libya has been a concern in the aftermath of the Libya conflict [JURIST feature]. In November Amnesty International (AI) reported that undocumented foreign nationals in Libya are at risk of facing mental and physical exploitation [JURIST report] and abuse that may include torture due to the Libyan perception that foreigners were mercenaries that supported the ousted regime. Earlier in November the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] urged the Libyan government [JURIST report] not to grant amnesty to war criminals. In March AI released a report accusing the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) [official website] of allowing the abuse and torture [JURIST report] of supporters of former leader Gaddafi by unofficial militias. Last year, AI released a report detailing similar abuses faced by prisoners [JURIST report] in Libya. The ICC also announced that it would not grant immunity [JURIST report] to any person perpetrating crimes against humanity in Libya.

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