Skip to comments.Australia urges Libya to ensure security of detained lawyer
Posted on 06/10/2012 4:45:40 AM PDT by BlackVeil
The Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has called on Libyan authorities to ensure the security of an Australian lawyer detained in Libya.
Melinda Taylor is an International Criminal Court lawyer who was in Libya ahead of proceedings against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the country's former ruler Muammar Gaddafi.
She was detained on Thursday for alleged breaches of Libyan national security.
Senator Carr says consular officials are trying to get access to Ms Taylor and consular staff have been in touch with her family.
The Australian Lawyers Alliance has called on the Libyan Government to immediately release Ms Taylor.
Its national president Greg Barns says Libya had no right to interfere.
"We, in this country, support the upholding of the rule of law and we have to be giving a signal to the Libyan government that it's unacceptable for any Australia lawyer, or any lawyer for that matter acting for their client, to be impeded in this way and treated in a way which is quite appalling," Mr Barns said.
Documents 'endangered Libyan security'
Libya says Ms Taylor tried to smuggle documents to late leader Moamar Gaddafi's son Seif al-Islam from his former right hand man, Mohammed Ismail.
A representative from the ICC says the woman, Melinda Taylor, was part of a four-member delegation that was given permission to visit Saif al-Islam on Thursday in Zintan, where he is being detained.
The ICC says all four from the delegation are now being held in Zintan, about 180 kilometres south-west of the capital Tripoli, and it is calling on authorities to release them.
A Libyan lawyer says the Australian woman was attempting to deliver documents to Saif that had nothing to do with his case but were "a danger to the security of Libya".
"During a visit, the lawyer tried to deliver documents to him, letters that represent a danger to the security of Libya," said Ahmed al-Jehani, the lawyer in charge of Saif's case and who liaises between the government and The Hague-based ICC. "She is not in jail. She is being detained in a guesthouse. Her colleagues are with her."
Asked whether Ms Taylor would be released soon, Mr Jehani said: "I hope today". ...The ICC has issued a statement asking for the release of the lawyers.
"We are very concerned about the safety of our staff in the absence of any contact with them," ICC president Judge Sang-Hyun Song said.
"These four international civil servants have immunity when on an official ICC mission.
"I call on the Libyan authorities to immediately take all necessary measures to ensure their safety and security and to liberate them."
Ajmi al-Atiri, a commander with the Zintan brigade, the former rebel fighters who captured Saif and are still holding him, said the ICC delegates had come to visit Gaddafi's son on Thursday and had asked to meet him in private, a request that was refused. ...They had no intention of releasing Ms Taylor, stressing that since she had been detained in Zintan, investigations would be conducted there, he added. ...
LOL. Sheesh, lawyers are stupid everywhere aren't they?
I mean when they aren't standing in front of the bar with their qualified immunity & beliefs of social and intellectual superiority...
Rock solid stupid.
I gather she was packing secret notes to Saif Gaddafi from a lieutenant of his who is safely out of the country.
To put this in context, imagine if, during the Nuremberg trials, a Swiss lawyer acting as an observer had tried to smuggle Hermann Göring messages from Adolf Eichmann in Argentina.
I think we might have gotten a little irritated about that.
The bottom line is that Libya is not a signatory to the ICC treaty, and while the ICC would like to claim authority over criminal proceedings in Libya, the Libyans are still free to tell the ICC to go bugger off.
And I strongly suggest that the Libyans present the notes this lawyer was trying to smuggle, and to ask what criminal sanctions this lawyer faces if released to their jurisdiction.
If they say “none”, then the Libyans should try her and put her in a Libyan prison. And when the ICC whines about it, inform them that she is lucky to not be tried for conspiracy to overthrow the Libyan government. Keep whining and we’ll see what we can do.
But I doubt if there were any such documents. The allegations about her sound wild - such as that she was "pretending to be a nurse" in order to see Saif Ghadaffi.
There is no real legal system in Libya, and I think the ICC staff are just being persecuted by one of the militias. They never should have been sent out to Libya.
As you say, the ICC are pushing for one of their show trials for Saif Gaddafi. But this is because NATO, having installed this regime, find the absence of due process for the high profile prisoner a bit embarrassing.
They sound a lot less wild because Muslims commonly use lawyers, generally female lawyers, to smuggle messages to prisoners. This includes the radical New York lawyer Lynne Stewart, who was convicted of helping pass messages from her client, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman.
This is done because in the Muslim world, women are often used for such things because only women are allowed to search them, and there are seldom enough women to do so.