The « King of the African kings » elected President of the African Union!

03/02/2009
Press release
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FIDH deplores the election yesterday of Libyan leader Mouammar Kadhafi, who now wishes to be called « King of the traditional Kings of Africa » as President of the African Union (AU).

Taking advantage of the limited number of African Heads of States attending the 12th African Union Summit in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, and of the system of rotating Presidency of the panafrican organization due to benefit this year a North African Head of State, the Libyan leader, the only representative from North Africa to the Summit, was elected by his peers as the Head of the AU for one year.

FIDH recalls that the Libyan regime has been violating and still violates most of the principles enshrined in Article 4 of the AU Constitutive Act, namely the respect of democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law and good governance.

In power since a coup in 1969, President Khadafi has imposed a regime that explicitly prohibits the free expression of any critics to the government and the principles of the 1969 Revolution with sentences up to the death penalty (Law 71 of 1972, and Article 206 of the Penal Code).
Libyan citizens are therefore not entitled to change their government, and are constantly denied their right to freedom of expression and association.

In addition to this, Libyan authorities reportedly hold political prisoners in lengthy incommunicado detention. The death penalty is one of the applicable sentences for several crimes, although the standards for a fair and impartial trial are not met in the country, and the judiciary seriously lacks independence.
Several reports have provided evidence that torture, despite being prohibited in the country, is a common practice in the detention facilities, and confessions obtained under torture are being used against defendants in courts proceedings. Libyan authorities have made no significant effort to investigate and prosecute those responsible for these acts.

Furthermore, FIDH recalls that in recent years, Libya has been detaining incommunicado and then expelling on a very regular basis refugees and asylum seekers and it has been undertaking collective deportations of migrants without distinction between refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants and regardless of the risks these people are facing back to their country of origin. According to official statistics, 2 million people from different African nationalities are believed to reside in Libya, in illegal status, waiting for an opportunity to cross the Mediterranean sea.

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