By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab.
Tripoli, 3 April 2013:
Gunmen who stormed Tripoli’s main Jadaida Prison on Monday evening and expelled the judicial police who . . .[restrict]were guarding it have threatened to release all the prisoners. The gunmen, said to be members of the Supreme Security Committee (SSC) forces, are believed to want the resignation of the Minister of Justice, Salah Al-Marghani.
The prison has been under the control of the Ministy of Justice. The attack is thought to be a response by some remaining members of the SSC, which is being dissolved, to a number of recent statements by Marghani demanding that prisons still controlled by armed militias be handed over to his ministry and also warning armed groups that they would be pursued and brought to trial if involved in kidnapping, torture and murder.
On Sunday morning, the Ministry of Justice was stormed by a group of SSC members said to be in charge of the prison at Metiga airbase. They forced Marghani and staff out of the building.
When the ministry was attacked, armed units were sent in by the government. However, there appears to be no military response so far to the prison takeover.
It is not known if the two attacks involved the same SSC people or if the second was a copy-cat attack.
Latter on Sunday, Marghani told Libya TV that an enquiry was being set up to into the deaths of 23 people from Bani Walid whose bodies had been transferred to Tripoli last Wednesday for forensic investigation. It is alleged that the 23 had been abducted from Bani Walid and taken to Misrata.
Marghani said that the decision to have the bodies taken to Tripoli for investigation had been made after talks with officials in Bani Walid and Misrata and with the approval of the Defense Minister and the chief military prosecutor. If it were shown that they had been tortured and murdered, those responsible would be arrested and put on trial, he said.
The facts on what had happened had to come out, he insisted. Members of Congress were demanding an investigation. “The government’s and the GNC’s position is clear. We will speak out the truth whatever it turns out to be. We are not afraid of anyone,” Marghani has been quoted as saying
Officials in Bani Walid had threatened retaliation against Misrata if there were no action by the authorities. Congress was monitoring the case, Marghani said, a group Congress members were in constant contact with Bani-Walid and Misrata to contain the situation.