On Thursday, the Speaker of the Libyan Parliament , Ageela Saleh strongly condemned the recent abduction of former Finance Minister, Faraj Boumtari in Tripoli.
In a statement, the Speaker said that Boumtari was forcibly taken to an unknown location, upon his arrival at Mitiga Airport. He also held Prime Minister Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba accountable for Boumtari’s safety.
In addition, he firmly denounced the “unjustified restriction placed on several members of the High Council of State (HCS), preventing them from travelling. Their passports were seized on Thursday, 13 July, at Mitiga Airport, blatantly infringing on their legislated right to free movement.”
Saleh called upon the Attorney General to “swiftly act and take all necessary measures regarding these two distressing incidents,” emphasizing the need to bring those involved to justice as quickly as possible.
Earlier today, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) condemned the ongoing arbitrary detentions within the country.
In its statement, the mission said, “UNSMIL is deeply disturbed by the continued instances of abductions, arbitrary arrests, and forced disappearances of citizens and public figures at the hands of various security entities in Libya.”
It also cited reports from 12 July, which detailed the arrest of former Finance Minister, Faraj Boumtari at Tripoli’s Mitiga Airport, and his subsequent disappearance.
Further reports indicated that five members of the High Council of State (HCS) were prevented from travelling through the same airport.
UNSMIL warned that these actions could create a climate of fear, and heighten tensions among local communities and tribes. The mission also expressed concerns about the potentially serious implications these incidents might have on the unification of national institutions.
The mission urged all relevant authorities and actors to ensure respect for human rights, and the rule of law. It expressed “deep concern over reports of the closure of certain oil fields in response to Mr. Boumtari’s kidnapping. This behaviour does not contribute to transparent, comprehensive elections or national reconciliation.” It called on Libyan authorities and security agencies to “release all arbitrarily detained persons and ensure independent investigations into all alleged cases of detention and kidnapping, outside the scope of the law, and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
UNSMIL also called on “all political, security, and social leaders to refrain from any form of escalation, including the use of inflammatory rhetoric, and to avoid any unilateral actions.” It stressed that “Libya cannot bear further division or deterioration.”
Libya has been embroiled in conflict and political instability following the 2011 overthrow of the long-term ruler, Muammar Gaddafi. Since then, the country has been divided between two main factions, each backed by a variety of militias and foreign powers.