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HRW urges aid for Libya judicial system

Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called [HRW report] on the international community Friday to provide assistance to Libya's failing justice system. HRW expressed concern over the mass detention of individuals on what they called an arbitrary basis. The call for assistance asked for trained personnel to help end the mass incarcerations as well as for help training additional judicial police. HRW has also reportedly documented "dozens" of cases of assassinations against members of the judicial system, including judges and prosecutors. None of the perpetrators of these attacks has been arrested or identified. The deteriorating security situation has caused widespread problems including the forced shutdown of local court systems and governments, as in the city of Derna, where Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani reportedly informed HRW that the court systems there have not functioned for months, as the city is not under government control. There have also been significant due process concerns related to member of the former Gaddafi government.

These concerns were given greater significance Thursday with the extradition [JURIST report] of Saadi Gaddafi, the late ex-leader's son, from Niger. Niger had previously refused to extradite him due to concerns that he would be summarily executed after arrival in the country. Early in February HRW interviewed [JURIST report] Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who is currently being held in Libya, saying that he and other officials had been barred from certain court proceedings and had not had the opportunity to review the evidence against them. Also in February UN officials warned [JURIST report] Libya over its additions to its penal codes, saying that the changes went against the "spirit" of Libya's revolution and threatened to undermine its success and legitimacy in the future.

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