Ex-Qadhafi Prime Minister Trial Postponed, New Protest Law Passed
The trial of ex-Qahafi Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi began on November 12, but was adjourned until December 10 to allow the defense and prosecution additional time to review case documents. Mahmoudi has been charged with embezzlement and corruption, in addition to the alleged order for mass-rape during the Libyan revolution. His extradition from Tunisia in June caused a deep row between the country’s President, Moncef Marzouk, and Prime Minister, Hamadi Jebali, who authorized the move. Mahmoudi’s lawyer Mabrouk Korshid said Mahmoudi should not be standing trial in Libya today following a “null and illegal” decision to extradite him from Tunisia, adding that there are “no guarantees for a fair trial” in Libya.
The Libyan National Congress recently passed legislation to limit the conditions under which citizens are permitted to organize protests. “All planned demonstrations must have a leader and at least two members whose names must be listed in the notice given to the security directorate stipulating where the demonstration will be taking place,” states the new law. Protesters are prohibited from carrying weapons of any kind during planned demonstrations and failure to comply with prescribed regulations could result in the cancellation of the demonstration, in addition to a maximum six-month prison sentence and 5,000 dinar fine levied on protest organizers.
Carol Giancomo wrote an opinion piece discussing the role of women in the Middle East’s transitional countries. While men continue to dominate the leadership positions of these countries, she argues that women are increasingly asserting themselves in order to define the future of the Arab world. However, she points out that the Syrian National Coalition and Libyan National Congress have failed to appoint women to key decision-making roles, while Egyptian and Tunisian women have had to protest the inclusion of restrictive language in their constitutional drafts. Giancomo quoted Tunisian-American activist Mabrouka M’barek who said, “This is a critical time. There are two steps in a revolution: You break it and then you build something new. That’s the hardest.”