Tripoli, 9 April 2013:
The GNC today passed tough legislation against torture, kidnapping and discrimination, with a final article mentioning specifically holders of public office, bureaucrats and members of the security forces.
Article One of the new law, which deals with kidnapping, provides for sentences of not less than seven years for anyone found guilty of detaining, imprisoning or depriving a person of their liberty, by force, threat or deception. It was stated that this applied to public officials exceeding their authority.
If the kidnapping was intended to force the release of someone legally imprisoned, then the sentence is increased to not less than eight years in jail.
Article Two, focusing on torture, stipulates sentences of not less than five years for any person causing physical or mental suffering to anyone under their control. Regardless of a detainee’s culpability, torture cannot be used to extract confessions or as an act of revenge. Minimum sentences will increase with the seriousness of the injuries caused. Torture that leads to death now attracts life imprisonment.
The legislation goes on to say that anyone who stands by and does not intervene during abuse or torture, will be considered complicit in the crime and will receive the same level of sentencing as the actual perpetrators.
The next two articles mandate punishment of not less than one year’s imprisonment for anyone guilty of discrimination, whether on the basis of class, group, region, gender or colour. It is made an offence for any citizen to be deprived of appointments or promotion or benefits or public services, based on who they are.
The fifth and final article says that all the provisions in the rest of the law, apply equally to politicians, bureaucrats, administrators and all members of the police and military. Moreover, GNC members decided that commanders and top officials had a duty to ensure that no torture or illegal detention took place on their watch. Failure to do so would also lead to their own prosecution.