Libya: Gaddafi warns against use of Facebook, activists arrested

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On 13 February 2011, ANHRI condemned the latest move by Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi as he warned against the use of the social networking site Facebook.

Many Libyan Internet activists have declared their support for the pro-democracy movement and change in Egypt, which turned into a revolution, and have created groups on Facebook to call for political and economic reforms in Libya. The Libyan dictator’s security forces have arrested several of these Internet activists. ANHRI managed to determine the identity of one of them, Jamal elKowafy, 40, who works at the University of Garyounis.

In addition, Gaddafi has hired agents to attack activists who call for political reform and an end to corruption in Libya. He also warned against the use of Facebook, which brings back memories of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s stance on the Internet, describing it as an imperialist plot.

Following in the footsteps of the deposed Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the security services also arrested Libyan activist and former prisoner of conscience Jamal Al-Hajji on a fabricated charge concerning a car accident, similar to the accusations that the Tunisian dictator used to fabricate against dissidents and political activists during his rule.

Gaddafi has controlled Libya for more than 40 years, using a repressive security apparatus. Libya ranked 146th among 178 countries in a 2010 international report on corruption.

ANHRI said, “The best thing for Gaddafi to do is to step down after having seized power against the will of the Libyan people for so long. Democracy and freedoms are as essential as air. No dictator or security apparatus, no matter how cruel, can ever be allowed to deprive people of these rights.”

SOURCE: Arabic Network for Human Rights Information

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