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Further information on UA 103/93 (MDE 19/02/93, 7 April) - Libya: legal concern: Colonel Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi again calls for the judicial punishments of amputation and flogging to be included in the Penal Code

, Index number: MDE 19/003/1993

In a speech broadcast by Libyan Television on 30 June 1993, Colonel Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi again called for the introduction of the judicial punishments of amputation and flogging. He also appeared to call for widening the scope of the death penalty. His remarks follow a statement he made in April 1993 to the General People's Congress. There is grave concern that the introduction of these punishments in the Libyan Penal Code may be imminent

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: MDE 19/03/93
Distr: UA/SC
6 July 1993
Further information on UA 103/93 (MDE 19/02/93, 7 April 1993) - Legal Concern
LIBYA:Colonel Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi again calls for the judicial punishments
of amputation and flogging to be included in the Penal Code
In a speech broadcast by Libyan Television on 30 June 1993, Colonel Mu'ammar
al-Gaddafi, the Libyan head of State, again called for the introduction of
the judicial punishments of amputation and flogging. He also appeared to call
for widening the scope of the death penalty. His remarks follow a statement
he made in April 1993 in which he urged the General People's Congress, Libya's
highest legislative body, to promulgate laws providing for the judicial
punishments of amputation and flogging. Amnesty International is gravely
concerned that the introduction of these punishments in the Libyan Penal Code
may be imminent.
In his speech delivered to a group of prisoners in an unknown location, Colonel
al-Gaddafi said: "Henceforth, no one will be sent to prison because he is a
thief. The thief's hand will be cut off and he has to do with only one hand.
If he steals again, the other hand will be cut off." He also went on to say:
"prostitution [and adultery] will be punished by 100 lashes and [will be shown]
on television". He also added that "anyone who drinks alcohol should be charged
with being an agent of the enemy [with whom we are] in a state of confrontation.
The sentence for that could be death because alcohol is obtained from foreign
embassies or companies." Colonel al-Gaddafi also implied that "heretics" would
be executed.
At present the Libyan Penal Code does not allow for the judicial punishments
of amputation or flogging. It does, however, provide for the death penalty
in cases of murder and certain violent crimes against the state. Individuals
convicted of theft, prostitution or adultery were usually tried and sentenced
to prison terms. No judicial amputations are known to have been carried out
in Libya since Colonel al-Gaddafi came to power in 1969. In November 1992
Libya executed six men, the first officially announced executions in over five
years.
In May 1970 Libya became a state Party to the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights (ICCPR), and in May 1989 it became a State Party to the
United Nations Convention against Torture, without making any reservations
to that treaty. The extension of the death penalty to crimes such as drinking
alcohol and membership of a "heretical" group would violate Libya's solemn
obligations under Article 6(2) of the ICCPR, which restricts the death penalty
in countries which have not yet abolished this penalty to "the most serious
crimes". Widening the scope of the death penalty would also contradict the
provisions of the Libyan Great Green Document on Human Rights in the Era of
the Masses, adopted in June 1988, which states that the death penalty would
be applied "only to he whose life constitutes a danger or corruption to society",
and set abolition as an aim of Libyan society.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases as a violation
of the right to life guaranteed by Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights. It also considers that the judicial punishments of
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amputation and flogging amount to torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment. As such, its implementation in Libya would violate the country's
solemn obligations under the Convention against Torture.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/express and airmail
letters in English, Arabic or your own language:
- expressing grave concern that the introduction of the judicial punishments
of amputation and flogging in the Penal Code and the widening of the scope
of the death penalty may be imminent;
- stating that the death penalty is the ultimate form of cruel, inhuman and
degrading punishment, urging that the scope of the death penalty not be widened
and calling for the commutation of all death sentences in Libya, with a view
to its abolition;
- stating that the judicial punishments of amputation and flogging amount to
cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment which is prohibited by the Convention
against Torture and Article 7 of the ICCPR, to which Libya is a State Party,
as well as by Article 31(c) of Libya's own constitution and urging that these
punishments not be imposed or carried out.
APPEALS with a cover letter TO the diplomatic representative of Libya accredited
to your country asking that your letter be forwarded to the following in Libya
(it is very difficult to get letters through to Libya direct):
1) His Excellency
Colonel Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi
Leader of the Revolution
Tripoli
Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Telegrams: Colonel al-Gaddafi, Tripoli, Libya
Telexes: 70 0901 20162 ALKHASU LY
Salutation: Your Excellency
2) His Excellency
'Umar Mustafa al-Muntasir
Secretary of the People's Committee of the People's Bureau for Foreign
Liason and International Cooperation
Tripoli
Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Salutation: Your Excellency
PLEASE SEND YOUR APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International
Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 17 August 1993.

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