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Mauritania: Surrender Abdullah Sanussi to ICC | Human Rights Watch

The ICC judges granted arrest warrants on June 27, 2011, for Sanussi, as well as Muammar Gaddafi and his son Saif al-Islam. The three were wanted for crimes against humanity for attacks on civilians, including peaceful demonstrators, in Tripoli, Benghazi, Misrata, and other locations in Libya. The ICC warrants apply only to events in Libya beginning on February 15, 2011.

The ICC's proceeding against Muammar Gaddafi was terminated following his death on October 20, but anti-Gaddafi forces apprehended Saif al-Islam Gaddafi on November 19 in southern Libya and are holding him in the town of Zintan. Government officials say they will try Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in Libya for his role during the government’s 2011 crackdown and prior corruption.

Dozens of other senior Gaddafi-era officials and their relatives are in custody, held either by the official government authorities or militias around the country, the latter having no legal authority to hold detainees. The majority of these detainees have not had access to a lawyer or been brought before a judge.

Human Rights Watch has long called for the militias in Libya to hand all their detainees over to the competent government authorities.

Human Rights Watch has also documented mistreatment in detention in Tripoli and Misrata. Last month, a Libyan diplomat who served as ambassador to France died apparently from torture after he was detained by a Tripoli-based militia from the town of Zintan. Libya’s former prime minister, Abuzaid Dorda, was badly injured in a fall he sustained in October while detained by a militia in Tripoli. Human Rights Watch has also called on the Tunisian authorities to decline ordering the extradition to Libya of Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, the former Libyan prime minister, due to a real risk of torture.

“At this point, we doubt that Libya can provide a fair trial for Abdullah Sanussi,” [HRW international justice director Richard] Dicker said. “For justice, and for Libyans to understand the tragedies of their past, Mauritania should hand him to the ICC.”

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