Libyan’s eastern military governor Abdul Razzaq Al-Nazhuri has imposed another travel ban on all citizens aged 18-45. The ban comes only a few days after Al-Nazhuri retracted the ban on women under the age of 60 from travelling without a male chaperone, which had been justified later on the basis that there would be ‘negative aspects’ to Libyan women travelling to foreign countries.
The justification behind the ban was said to have been implemented in order “to protect national security and Libyans of this age group from being lured by terrorist organisations”. Those who wish to travel abroad must seek clearance and provide specific criteria to intelligence services, criteria includes certificates from employers.
“The military intelligence department will be tasked to issue security permits for the military and army individuals wishing to travel abroad,” a statement on the permit read, adding “while the general intelligence department will issue security permits for the social societies.”
The imposition of the ban faces stern legal action, facing accusations that the ban is unconstitutional and obstructs the right to freedom of movement, unless restricted by law.
However, no ban will be imposed on those aged 18-45 if they travel abroad via a connection flight from Labraq to Tripoli then onwards. Nor will the ban affect those travelling out from Tobruk airport as it is outside Al-Nazhuri’s jurisdiction.
The ban will only affect those travelling out from Labraq Airport, the sole international airport under Al-Nazhuri’s authority.
Libyans have expressed their outrage on social media, comparing it to a ban imposed by the Colonel Muammar Gaddafi regime that was toppled during the Arab Spring. Gaddafi banned all Libyans from travelling abroad without security clearance.
Some see the ban as a front to deflect attention away from the earlier ban on women travelling, which had been suggested to be a consequence of Salafist pressure on security forces in the east.