Russian Foundation for National Values Protection has sent letters to theSecretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, as well as to the head of United Nations Support Mission in Libya Ghassan Salamé, asking them to persuade the head of the National Transitional Council Fayez Sarraj to free Russian nationals MaksimShugalea and Samir Hassan Ali Sueifan, who are being held captive by Tripoli government.
The necessity of this step is required by the obligations which Sarraj took upon himself during the international conference on Libya that took place in Berlin on January 19.
Paragraph 45 of the final agreement, which the head of NTC has agreed upon, dictates the requirement to free prisoners held in Libyan prisons illegally.
The communique reads: “The lack of due process in the functioning of the national judicial system, including in prisons, is one of the contributing factors to the volatile and serious human rights and humanitarian situation. We call for follow-up on the decrees of the Libyan authorities to screen all detainees and prison inmates under the control of the Ministry of Justice/Judicial Police in order to strengthen the functioning of the judicial institutions and to release those illegally or arbitrarily detained.”
Russian Foundation for National Values Protection has also sent an open letter to Fayez Sarraj demanding to uphold responsibilities he took upon himself in Berlin.
The last spring, Foundation officials went to Libya for conducting a sociological survey with the invitation from the head of the High Council of State Khalid al-Mishri. However, by May they were detained by the local authorities without a prosecutor’s order or any other legal cause.
The arrest was carried out by the so called “special operations forces RADA,” a group of terrorists controlling a chain of private prisons in Tripoli and involved in kidnapping for ransom, torture, drug trafficking and liquor smuggling. This group is sponsored by the NTC.
According to the Foundation, international special forces assisted the arrest.
The administration of the Foundation believes that Fayez Sarraj is directly responsible for the captivation of its employees. The head of NTC counted on using captives as a bargaining chip against Russia and preventing the results of the survey leaking to the world. The results show the lack of any support of Sarraj by the citizens of Libya.
According to the Foundation, Tripoli authorities violate the rights of the detainees severely. They haven’t been formally charged yet and their case was not referred to a prosecutor.
Prison guards had prevented the meeting of Russians with their lawyer for a long time, despite the direct order from the attorney general. According to the Foundation, psychological pressure was used on Russian prisoners. Guards forced them to participate in a mock beheading, trying to make them confess to something.
Attorney General Office charges Maksim Shugalea and Samir Hassan Ali Sueifanwith multiple counts, but only in words. They are “charged” with the interference in the internal affairs of the state, conducting public works without the authorization from the local government and security agencies. Furthermore, the Attorney General Office believes that the Russians were visiting places they were prohibited from. They were detained not long before they were going to leave Libya.
Maksim Shugalea and Samir Hassan Ali Sueifan arrived to Libya as sociologists to attend the Libyan national dialogue conference that was planned to be held in the April of 2019 but was scrapped after fighting broke. Russian nationals were studying electoral views of Libyans and they weren’t a threat to anyone.
Additionally, current Libyan laws do not criminalize social work Russians were conducting. However, some “investigation” of their actions still continues, and we’re all waiting for the communique from Berlin, which was thoroughly negotiated for so long, to start having any effect.