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UNSMIL condemns Tripoli abduction of Benghazi Cabinet Office head

UNSMIL said yesterday that it was deeply concerned about the abduction and disappearance of Rida Fretees, Chief of Staff for the First Deputy Prime Minister/Cabinet Office in Benghazi of the Government of National Unity (GNU).

UNSMIL reported that unidentified armed men abducted Fretees with his colleague on 2 August 2021, following Fretees’ visit to GNU premises in Tripoli. It said the fate and whereabouts of both Fretees and his colleague remain unknown and that it fears for their safety and security.

UNSMIL expressed further concern about individuals who have taken on roles in support of Libya’s democratic transition and State institutions being targeted in this manner which has serious implications for the peace and reconciliation process and for the full unification of national institutions.

UNSMIL said it has documented a number of cases of illegal arrests and detention, enforced disappearances, torture, and extrajudicial killings of citizens, officials, journalists, civil society members and human rights defenders in the past year.

“Under international human rights law, no one may be arbitrarily arrested or detained. Torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings are strictly prohibited as are abductions and kidnappings,” said UNSMIL head Jan Kubis.

UNSMIL called on Libyan authorities to fully investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. “Libya must end the entrenched culture of impunity in the country”, stressed Kubis.

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