Thursday, 12 August 2010

Abu Selim inmates and former civil servants challenge Libyan government over compensation

The tidying up of the Abu Selim prison massacre affair has been delayed once again by the inefficiencies and possibly corrupt nature of those charged with implementing the compensation payments.

A long list of categories of payments to be made to the ex-prisoners or their families has been constructed. This made payments available to former members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and to 300 people who had been wrongfully detained without trial, and some who successfully appealed against their sentences but were, nevertheless, kept in jail.

According to reports from Libya, payments have been disputed and have been eroded by those handling the cash pay-outs. The weekly protests in Benghazi against the poor treatment of former inmates and current prisoners in Abu Selim prison have persisted, despite discouragement from the authorities.

It is reported in the courts that a significant number of former Abu Selim inmates are challenging the government over the inefficiencies and peculation that accompanied the hand-out of compensation payments.

More critical for the regime in the short term, the pay-out to redundant civil service employees has still not been made; their normal wages have also been stopped and many are in some difficulties to manage their budgets.

Some outraged and now redundant members of the civil service began a protest in al-Jamahiriya Street, but were diverted to present their objections for their ill treatment by the government to the al-Aziziya area, close by Colonel Qadhafi's own residence. Here they proceeded to demand to see the Leader. They were eventually dispersed after promises by the Leader that his aides would deal with the matter immediately.

Such shows of dissidence have been missing from the Libyan political scene for many years and it will be interesting to see how the matter develops, especially as this show of defiance took place in Tripoli.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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