The United Nations Support Mission to Libya (UNSMIL) welcomed the arrest of major human trafficker Abdel-Rahman Milad, commonly known as ‘Al-Bidja’, by law enforcement forces on Wednesday.
In a statement, UNSMIL said that the arrest of Al-Bidja was an important step towards ensuring justice for thousands of vulnerable Libyans, and migrants alike. According to it, this step will help in promoting respect for human rights in Libya.
It also stressed the imperative for a fair, transparent, and speedy trial for the internationally wanted criminal, as well as all individuals currently held in pre-trial detention. UNSMIL noted that it is committed to continued partnership with the local authorities to ensure due process and the supremacy of the rule of law.
Al-Bidja has been on the UN Security Council’s Sanctions Committee list since June 2018, for his involvement in human trafficking and fuel smuggling. He was also subject to a special bulletin of the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL), and an arrest warrant issued in April 2019 by the Tripoli Public Prosecution Office. All were given on similar charges of human trafficking and fuel smuggling.
Al-Bidja has a long record of human trafficking crimes in western Libya. Born in 1990 in the city of Zawiya, he works as a lieutenant officer assigned by the Government of National Accord, to head the Coast Guard in the western region. He is the head of Zawiya’s most notorious militia, known for its human trafficking activities.
He was placed under sanctions by the UN Security Council, for crimes against humanity. This includes human trafficking, mistreatment and torture of migrant prisoners, and the systematic sinking of migrant boats, resulting in the deaths of dozens.
He has also amassed a very public profile for himself in recent years, thanks to a series of international scandals. These include public spats with government officials, and appearances on international news outlets.