Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 1 Issue: 10

The Libyan Muslim Brotherhood suffered a severe blow to their organization with the upholding on December 2 of the February 2002 verdicts against members who have been in prison since 1998 on charges of clandestine activities and attempts to change the regime of Mu’ammar al-Qaddhafi by force. According to Islamist website Mufakkirat al-Islam, two leaders of the Brotherhood, Dr. Abdallah Izz al-Din and Dr. Salim Abu Hanak had their execution verdicts upheld, while ten-year jail sentences were upheld for 11 other members [www.islammemo.cc]. According to Amnesty International, [news.amnesty.org] over 80 other prisoners of conscience, sentenced in the same case in 2002 to prison terms ranging between 10 years and life imprisonment, also had their sentences confirmed. These were mainly professionals and students, who were arrested on suspicion of supporting or sympathizing with the banned Islamic group. The case against the members on grounds of armed political activity is thin, and the legality of the proceedings questionable, given that the verdicts (“issued in advance by circles other than the People’s court” according to the Libyan Human Rights solidarity organization) were delivered by the Exceptional Court, which both local and international organizations consider lacks independence. Col Qaddhafi himself had called for their abolition last April, and it is an indication of the sensitivity of Tripoli to the strong potential for Islamist political opposition that the appeal court was held so suddenly, and in the absence of the accused.