EU must demand investigation of Libyan human rights advocate’s death

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The American Jewish Committee urged the European Union to press for an independent investigation into the death of a leading Libyan human rights advocate, Fathi al-Jahmi, as it begins negotiations with the Libyan government over a framework agreement.

AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights (JBI) wrote to Catherine Ashton, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, calling for “a prompt, impartial and effective investigation” as a “pre-condition” for any successful outcome to the negotiations.

Mr. al-Jahmi was arrested and imprisoned in 2002 following a series of interviews in which he publicly called for Libya’s democratization. On May 3, following a sudden, severe deterioration in his health, he fell into a coma and on May 5 was transferred to a hospital in Jordan for treatment, where he then died.

“Until the eve of his death, Mr. al-Jahmi was in the custody of Libya – a country with a well-documented history of repression and human rights abuse,” said E. Robert Goodkind, JBI Chair.

“The EU must make it clear that an investigation into his death is now essential to determine whether the Libyan authorities upheld their obligations under international human rights law to provide detainees with adequate medical care.”

AJC raised Mr. al-Jahmi’s case at the highest governmental levels on several occasions during his imprisonment in Libya, urging both his release and the provision of urgently needed medical care.

AJC’s Blaustein Institute, which carries out international human rights advocacy, maintains a relationship with Mr. al-Jahmi’s brother, Mohamed, who lives in the United States.

Source: American Jewish Committee

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