Libyan court sentences 3 people to prison over human trafficking

AP , Saturday 8 Jul 2023

A court in the Libyan capital sentenced three people to harsh prison terms on charges of human trafficking, in the first such ruling in a North African nation where migrants are routinely mistreated.

Nigerien African migrants, who illegally arrived in Libya, board a Buraq Air Boeing 737 aircraft at Misrata International Airport near the northwestern Libyan city of Misrata, on November 3, 2021, as they are repatriated as part of efforts by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). AFP


The Criminal Court of Tripoli convicted the three of human trafficking, detaining, and torturing migrants, and extorting their families to pay ransom to release their relatives, according to a statement Friday by the office of Libya’s chief processor.

The court sentenced one of the convicted to life in prison, while the other two received a 20-year term each, the statement said.

The statement didn’t reveal further details including their identities or nationalities. General Prosecutor al-Sediq al-Sourr was not immediately available for comment on Saturday.

Libya plunged into chaos following a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime autocrat Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. The country has since emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants seeking a better life in Europe.

Human traffickers have benefited from the instability in Libya and smuggled migrants through the country’s lengthy border with six nations. They then pack desperate people into ill-equipped rubber boats and other vessels in risky voyages on the Central Mediterranean Sea route.

For years, the United Nations and rights groups have decried horrible conditions faced by migrants who were trafficked and smuggled across the Mediterranean.

U.N.-backed human rights experts said in March there was evidence that crimes against humanity have been committed against Libyans and migrants in in Libya, including women being forced into sexual slavery.

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