By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 2 August 2016:
There is still no news of the top Libya Dawn media figure seized after the Friday demonstration in Tripoli’s Martyrs’ Square in support of the Benghazi Defence Brigade.
Jamal Zubia, the foreign media department head appointed by Khalifa Ghwell, prime minister of Libya Dawn’s defunct National Salvation Government, was among a number of people understood to have been detained by members of the Rada (Deterrence) force of Abdul Rauf Kara.
Zubia was arrested after the protest which had been backed by the head of the Dar Al-Ifta, Sadek Al-Ghariani.
Also thought to have been taken by Rada was Salim Al-Shabel, who works for Libya HD satellite TV channel. There have been suggestions that Shabel may have used social media to criticise the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group of which Abdul-Hakim Belhaj was once a senior commander.
It is still unclear why the controversial Zubia was seized. Though fired by the Presidency Council and replaced by new media chief Khaled Farhat, Zubia continued to function and to warn foreign journalists that they needed to go through him for authorisation.
However, the Misratan military council has questioned media representatives who appeared with Zubia-issued visas to cover the Bunyan Marsous operation against IS in Sirte. Sources have suggested that Zubia, who himself comes from Misrata, has fallen out with key individuals in the city.
After Shabel disappeared following Friday’s demonstration, UNSML chief Martin Kobler said that he was saddened at the news and demanded the security authorities find out where he was and secure his immediate release unharmed.
Friends of Zubia have wanted to know why Kobler has not also taken up his case. This January Zubia broke up a press conference that Kobler was holding at Mitiga airport. He said that Kobler had not sought his permission to hold the briefing and threatened to withdraw the accreditation of all the journalists present.
A humiliated Kobler apologised, asked that the journalists not lose their accreditation and left the meeting.