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Top terror suspects arrested in eastern Libya: Interior Ministry

The Ministry of Interior has announced that it has arrested a number of top terror suspects in Benghazi, Marj, and Bersis and has referred them to the Public Prosecution’s Office, it revealed yesterday.

One of the accused is allegedly implicated in the assassination of 47 people whilst another is implicated in the high profile murders of prominent lawyers, activists and journalists: Salwa Bughaigies, Abdulsalam Mismari and Muftah Buzaid.

The MoI has also taken the unusual step of publishing the photographs, as well as the full names of the six accused on its social network sites.

The top accused was arrested by the Terrorism Prevention Force at the Bersis Gate area. He is accused of being a member of the radical Islamist ‘‘Takfiri’’ (apostasy) sect. Radical takfiri Islamists accuse anyone who has a more moderate interpretation of Islam as a ‘’kafir’’ and use this as justification for their murder.

The twenty year old from the Leithy district of Benghazi is accused of the complicity in the assassination of forty-seven people made up of members of the police, army and activists, in the form of their direct assassination, following them or arresting them with the intent to assassinate them.

He is also accused of the slaughter of sixteen other people.

The second highest profile arrestee was arrested by Benghazi CID. The nineteen year old is charged with being a terrorist murderer after implicating him in crimes of murder, kidnapping and the planting of explosive devices.

He is also allegedly implicated in aiding in the high profile murder of prominent lawyer and activist Salwa Bughaigies, lawyer and activist Abdulsalam Mismari and the journalist Muftah Buzaid.

A third 21 year old arrestee is accused of reconnaissance with intent, being implicit in or carrying out the planting of explosive devices and assassination.

Benghazi’s CID also accuses a fourth, a 23 year old with the incitement of terror crimes against the army and police through social media under a pseudonym.

The fifth arrestee is 27 year old accused of being a member of a radical terror group that captured members of the police and army and terrorizing members of the public.

The city of Marj CID, meanwhile, has arrested a sixth terror suspect. The 23 year old is accused of being a member of Ansar Sharia, of being in a vehicle used for assassinations in Benghazi, taking assassination vehicles to Derna, taking assassination vehicles from Derna to Benghazi and smuggling weapons from Derna to Benghazi.

All the six accused have been referred to the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

It must be pointed out that the arrestees have yet to be found guilty of any of the alleged crimes charged by the police. However, the significance of these arrests is that arrests of high profile alleged criminals and terrorists have been few and far in between in the whole of Libya.

The arrest of alleged criminals or terror suspects has been a widespread public desire ever since the breakdown of law and order in Libya after the February 2011 revolution, and the lack of such arrests has led the general public to the view that the police had been infiltrated and was complicit in the widespread terror and criminal activity in Libya.

The announcement of some arrests will give some hope to the majority of the Libyan public who has been eager for the state to re-impose public order and the rule of law.

When the general public were able to freely demonstrate in Martyr Square in central Tripoli prior to the occupation of the capital by the GNC/Libya Dawn militias, the call for the formation of a strong and centralized official army and police – was one of the most frequently made demands by demonstrators.

The announcement by the MoI that it has made these high profile arrests will also give the Libyan public some hope that the criminal investigative system of the police is at long last beginning to operate.

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