Tripoli, 8 December:
A special envoy has been dispatched to Iraq to plead the case of a Libyan citizen due to be . . .[restrict]executed on Sunday on terrorism related offences.
Adel Al-Shaalani was one of five Libyan nationals sentenced to death in late August after his sentence was upheld on appeal. In a statement issued on Friday, the Libyan Foreign Ministry has urged the Iraqi Government to postpone the execution and allow discussions to take place “in light of the existing brotherly relations between the two countries”.
Demonstrations have also been called in front of the National Congress in Tripoli and the Tibesti Hotel in Benghazi urging clemency for Shaalami.
Iraqi reports have claimed in the past that as many as 200 Libyans are held there on various offences, with some accused of being members of Al-Qaeda. In September, the Libyan government said that just 18 Libyans were being held in Iraqi jails, although it admitted that around 80 citizens had gone missing there with their whereabouts unknown.
Since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, large numbers of Libyan citizens travelled to the country to join the Iraqi insurgency. Exact figures are not known, but Libya is reckoned to have been one of the biggest contributors of foreign nationals to the conflict.
When, in 2007, US forces discovered a list of 440 foreign fighters whose hometowns were recorded, it transpired that 112 came from Libya. Of that 112, fully 52 were from Derna.
So far this year, at least two Libyans are reported to have been executed in Iraq.