By George Grant.
Tripoli, 5 December:
The prominent social networking activist taken from his home yesterday morning by armed gunmen has been freed.
The apparent abduction of Dr Hamid Al-Tubuly rapidly made headlines and sparked widespread condemnation, including from National Congress President Mohamed Magarief. In a statement, Magarief condemned the kidnapping, called on the authorities to take “all necessary measures” to find him, and pledged to bring those responsible to justice.
It now transpires, however, that Tubuly’s “kidnappers” were none other than the Supreme Security Committee, Libya’s de facto police force responsible for internal security under the authority of the Ministry of Interior.
“The men who took him belonged to the SSC’s 10th unit in Dahra” said Tubuly’s niece Hajer Sharif. “They questioned him for several hours but treated him well.”
Sharif says her uncle is not in a state to discuss the details of what he was asked during his questioning and that neither he nor the family could explain the arrest. It is being reported, however, that the interrogation was a response to a “complaint” of an unknown nature by a neighbour in Ain Zara.
The incident underscores the disconnect between the security apparatus and those to whom they are theoretically accountable that still exists across large parts of the country. The fact that the SSC could make such an arrest and precipitate an unwitting condemnation by the National Congress president will certainly be cause for examination on both sides.
Today, however, Sharif said that Tubuly was nevertheless grateful to Magarief for making the intervention on behalf of a private citizen: “We certainly believed it put the pressure on and helped lead to his release”, she said.