Libyan Jamahiriya Head of State, Dr Baghdadi Mahmoudi, may be dead, says his Tunisian lawyer, Beshir Essid, who expressed his concern yesterday on Tunisia's Alwatania TV, saying that he suspected that the ex-Libyan prime minister may have been killed during his incarceration after being moved on Sunday, June 24, to Libya.
Dr Baghdadi, who is also the Hon. Secretary-General of the International People's Conference Organization, was held political prisoner by Tunsia's authorities for 307 days before being handed over on Sunday morning to Libyan militia who are ruling Tripoli since the invasion backed by foreign forces in August last year.
“Mahmoudi has been tortured in jail, humiliated and spat on. He was seriously hit on his head, causing hemorrhaging that put him in critical condition and necessitated his immediate transport to a hospital,” claimed Essid.
Essid stated that the Libyan authorities have forbidden Mahmoudi from seeing his friends, lawyers or even his family members. “He is confined in total seclusion to an individual cell,” said Essid to Alwatania TV.
Mahmoudi’s Tunisian lawyer said that the Libyan authorities are stirring up rumors about Mahmoudi’s health, alleging that it has been deterioration since his extradition. “They are trying to create a context that will justify his death under the torture that they are inflicting upon his body,” said Essid.
Mahmoudi's French lawyer also said that Mahmoudi had been beaten and was suffering a punctured lung and other serious injuries, and that he too feared he may be dead.
Without independent verification, it is also possible that his Libyan captors, who have the world's worst record on human rights over the past year, have been deliberately spreading false information about his being beaten or even dying, via unverifiable social media accounts on Facebook, so that they can present him some days later unharmed, in front of international organizations and media, and thus score a temporary reprieve.
If this is the case, then they will likely torture and harm him once the cameras are turned off again, Mathaba's Libyan Affairs Editor said. "They are either attempting to score advance points on the basis of the calling wolf-crocodile mechanism, so that later reports of actual harm will not be believed, or, he has already been harmed. Either way if they do not allow credible independent experts to visit him, as well as his family and qualified international lawyers, then no one should assume he is, or will remain safe."
When asked if Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Libyan lawyers, or Arab and international media channels, would provide credible independent witness to his actual situation, the editor said: "Absolutely not. Those human rights organizations had the final nails in their coffins of credibility last year, allowing the incredible level of human rights abuses in Libya to go on, often under the protection of their own false reports about the Jamahiriya, and the world news media long ago lost all credibility.
"The news media still refer to Dr Baghdadi variably as Libya's or Qaddafi's former Prime Minister, when there is no post of prime minister in Libya, nor is he former, he still remains the current Head of State", the editor said.
In contrast, Nasser Al Manaa, the Libyan occupation regime's National Transitional Counsel spokesman, stated that these claims are erroneous.
“Mahmoudi is being kept in a prison under the watchful eye of the Libyan Ministry of Justice and the protection of the police of the judiciary. He is alive, in good condition and in a good psychological state,” said Al Manaa.
Al Manaa said that Mahmoudi and all prisoners in custody are treated well and enjoy all the rights promised to them under international human rights agreements. “Mahmoudi is in good condition. He is fed and treated according to human rights regulations. Every day the doctor pays a visit to see him, along with all the other prisoners, to assess their health,” he said.
“I’m astonished at the way these people are making false, erroneous news and creating rumors!” said Al Manaa.
Yet, the condition of Dr Baghdadi and his states, would require more than a "daily visit from a doctor", observers note. Being Libya's ongoing lawful Head of State, the democratic government having been removed by force with the displacement of one in six Libyans and the deaths of one in sixty of the population last year, and the ongoing lawless situation with horrific human rights abuses, given his age and long captivity of 313 days thus far, he would require around-the-clock independent medical attention.
In a further contradiction, Othman Ben Sassi, the "president of the Information Office of the Interim Council", said that the Libyan "authorities" are blocking access to visitors for the safety of Mahmoudi. Yet, when asked who those visitors are that would be a danger to his safety, he said:
“We are going through hard times with the political transition and the security problems. We are protecting Mahmoudi. We have to be cautious and vigilant of the threat posed by Mahmoudi’s supporters, who are trying to delay and frustrate the trial procedures,” he said.
He also threatened Tunisia, the junior partner in the relationship with the islamist gangs ruling Libya, saying:
“I advise those inciting rumors to think twice before making them up, because this could harm the relationship between the Libyan and Tunisian people. Soon, we will invite the lawyers of Mahmoudi to Libya to see their client. Mahmoudi has the right to see his family and attorneys,” affirmed Al Manaa.
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