Prominent Libyan lawyer Abdel Hafiz Manna filed a lawsuit against the Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj, his Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, the Head of the National Centre of Disease Control Badr al-Din al-Najjar and the Minister of Health Ahmed bin Omar, on charges of causing the spread of the Coronavirus in Libya by allowing stranded citizens abroad to enter the country without subjecting them to quarantine inside the country. Meanwhile the eastern-based Interim Government is still committed to placing all returnees in a 14-day quarantine.
According to the lawsuit documents, the lawyer made claims for compensation over the damage caused by the illegal actions of the defendants, led by Al-Sarraj, who is in charge of the Supreme Committee to Combat the Coronavirus, an institution which cancelled the mandatory quarantine for returning nationals, thus leading to the outbreak of the virus in most Libyan cities.
He added that the plaintiffs are three citizens from Sebha, who had not left the city since 2019, and committed themselves to staying home since March. They confirmed that the GNA’s reluctance and negligence led to the outbreak of the deadly virus in the city, which has become an epicenter for the virus.
The Lawyer Manna relied on the texts of the articles of the Health Law No. 106 of 1973, saying that the official data released by the National Centre for Disease Control represents a decisive argument and a judicial confession according to Article No. 398. This refers to the Centre’s data that indicated the high number of infected cases amidst returning nationals whilst approving the plan for repatriating citizens without quarantine.
He confirmed that the GNA-affiliated Presidential Council approved, on March 16, the formation of the committee headed by the Minister of Health, and tasked with taking all exceptional and precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus, yet it has been proven that many infected cases have entered the country from abroad.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer has finally demanded compensation for material and moral damage incurred due to the outbreak of the coronavirus and the repercussions that have negatively affected all governmental institutions, private sector firms, banks, workshops and shops in the southern parts of the country and prohibited its residents from travelling to the eastern and western regions of the country.