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Libya to Demolish Notorious Abu-Salim Prison | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat-Libya intends to demolish the Abu-Salim Prison, one of its worst and most notorious jails, and has appointed for this purpose a judge to investigate and supervise the compensations for all those who had died during the mutiny inside the prison few years ago.

A high-level Libyan official told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Libyan authorities are about to demolish and erase Abu-Salim Prison while Al- Gaddafi Development Foundation which is led by Saif-al-Islam al- Gaddafi is seeking to reconcile the views of the relatives of the victims of the violent mutiny inside the prison. The appointed judge is Muhammad Bashir al-Khaddar who is a counselor to the General People’s Congress (Libyan parliament). Six legal counselors took the oath on Tuesday as assistants to the independent investigating judge who will start his work during the coming few days.

The judge was appointed following a decision from General Abu-Bakr Yunus Jabir, the acting defense minister, after the families of several victims resorted to the Libyan courts demanding the disclosure of the fate of their relatives and a court in Benghazi last year ordered the government to disclose the victims’ fate.

This development happens at a time when Asharq Al-Awsat learned that the Libyan authorities would release around 50 members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group [IFG] in a new official confirmation of the imminent closure of this organization’s case which in the past raised the slogans of armed military action to topple the regime of Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

Informed Libyan sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the new group of the released IFG members confirms that the dialogue between it and the Libyan authorities is almost nearing completion in favor of opening a new page in the historically troubled relations between the two sides. The IFG completed its jurisprudent and ideological reviews only few days after making a public and rare apology to Col. Al- Gaddafi last week at the peak of the massive and lavish celebrations in Libya on the anniversary of Al- Gaddafi ‘s coming to power after the revolution he led on 1 September 1969. The IFG’s letter to Col. Al- Gaddafi said: “We extend to you our apology for everything we had done against you, starting with the establishment of a secret organization and all the minor and major actions originating from it.” It added: “We hope that your response to our apology is the saying of Joseph, may the peace of God be upon him, to his brothers: No rebuke for you today. May God forgive you for He is the best Forgiver. People of succor do not look behind them except to make their steps stronger and their chests more open. Accept our deepest apology and respect.”

The group launched its lengthy revisions, 427 pages, under the title of “Revisionist Studies of the Concepts of Jihad, Hisbah[verification, the Islamic doctrine of keeping everything in order within Shariaa law], and Judging People” under the names of six of its leaders in the military “Abu-Salim” Prison and who are: Sami Mustafa al-Saidi, Abdul-Hakim al-Khuwaylidi al-Haj, Miftah al-Mabruk al-Dhawadi, Abdul -Wahhab Muhammad Qayid, Mustafa Al-Sayd Qunayfid, and Khalid Muhammad al-Sharif.

On the other hand, Dr. Ali al-Sulabi, the mediator in the reconciliation process between the IFG and the Libyan authorities who is overseeing the revisions which the group finalized on Wednesday, said the issuance of the group’s revisions is a step toward closing the case completely but noted that closing it will culminate in the release of all its members from detention. The Libyan authorities talked several times about the imminent release of hundreds of IFG detainees whose overall number is not exactly known, but Dr. Al-Sulabi informed Asharq Al-Awsat that Engineer Saif-al-Islam al- Gaddafi who is sponsoring the dialogue between the IFG and Libyan authorities must exert more efforts to release the remaining detained members and leaders of the group inside Libyan prisons. He said: “He (Al- Gaddafi’s son) now must double his efforts to get these people out of prison because they complied with what was required of them. He said they would leave prison if they denounced violence and weapons and I am now confident that God will grant him success in releasing them from prison because this is his aim.” He concluded that the ball is now in the Libyan state’s corner and expressed his optimism of a breakthrough soon in this issue. He added: “In my opinion, the real success of the dialogue will be the release of all members of the Islamic trend, foremost of them the IFG. Then the dialogue would have actually borne fruit. It has made excellent stages so far but the desired and required results are not over yet and will be only when the persons have indeed returned to their relatives and lived their lives and worked in a normal and natural way.”