Cablegate: New Developments On Fathi El-Jahmi
DE RUEHTRO #0104/01 0391105
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 081105Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3056
INFO RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO IMMEDIATE 0990
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME IMMEDIATE 0381
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN IMMEDIATE 0028
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 0720
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 3535
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 000104
EMBASSIES ROME/BERLIN: PLS PASS TO NEA A/S WELCH
E.O. 12958: DECL: 2/8/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM LY
SUBJECT: NEW DEVELOPMENTS ON FATHI EL-JAHMI
REF: A) STATE 8768, B) STATE 10444, C) TRIPOLI 55, D) TRIPOLI 90, E) TRIPOLI 93, F) JOHNSON-STEVENS EMAIL 02/05/2008 CLASSIFIED BY: Chris Stevens, CDA, Embassy Tripoli, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
1.(C) Summary: Echoing a letter posted on the Qadhafi Development Foundation's (QDF) website, the QDF's Executive Director, Dr. Youssef Sawani, told CDA February 7 that Fathi el-Jahmi's (FAJ's) family could take him home for treatment (but had so far declined to do so) and that NGO Human Rights Watch and an international, independent medical team may travel to Libya to assess FAJ's condition. He also offered to facilitate a visit by U.S. Emboffs to FAJ. Sawani maintained that FAJ is being held at the Tripoli Medical Center, where he receives "excellent" care, and is not/not being held at a prison detention facility. Sawani stressed that FAJ's brother, U.S.-based Mohammed el-Jahmi, has sought to exploit FAJ's case to embarrass the GOL. End summary.
2.(U) The Qadhafi Development Foundation's (QDF) Executive Director, Dr. Youssef Sawani, authored a response to a recent letter from NGO Human Rights Watch concerning Fathi el-Jahmi (FAJ), which was posted on the QDF's Arabic-language website February 6 (informal translation below at para 6). Main points of the letter are as follows: - Contrary to media reports and allegations by some members of FAJ's family, FAJ has been held at the Tripoli Medical Center (not/not at a prison facility) since his conviction; - The QDF has facilitated access to FAJ for members of his family, including a visit as recently as last week by his son, Mohammed; - The QDF, pursuant to a personal suggestion by Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, told the family FAJ could be taken from the hospital to his home for treatment; - The family has not accepted the offer, allegedly because some members of FAJ's family " ... wanted to exploit the case for political purposes"; - The QDF disputes the accuracy of HRW's report and invites the organization to verify FAJ's condition directly (i.e., invites them to Libya to do so).
3.(C) In addition to inviting HRW to visit Libya, Sawani said in a subsequent telcon with the CDA February 7 that the GOL was prepared to arrange a visit by U.S. Embassy officers to FAJ in hospital, and to facilitate a visit by an independent international medical team to assess FAJ's condition. He cautioned that Emboffs should not make their affiliation clear to avoid having the visit "misused" by FAJ family members eager to exploit his case for political purposes. 4.(C) Comment: The QDF's invitation to HRW and independent physicians to visit FAJ in Libya is a positive step. It seems that Saif al-Islam has concluded that addressing this case in a transparent manner is a better course of action than continued stonewalling (which has been the GOL's response so far). Saif told us that he has discussed the matter with his father, and therefore he presumably has the Leader's support. A successful visit by HRW and/or PHR would result in FAJ's return to his family with appropriate medical care. It would also potentially lay the foundation for future cooperation between HRW/PHR and the QDF on Libyan human rights issues. On the other hand, it would be easy for HRW/PHR to burn bridges here, i.e., through strident or unsubstantiated public statements or some other action (Saif's chief of staff told CDA, for instance, that when PHR last visited, one of the physicians had taped a conversation with FAJ that contained a political message and tried to take it out of the country; PHR, therefore, may not be the optimal choice for a medical team). Given the QDF's offer to allow HRW and physicians to meet with FAJ and facilitate his return to his family, we would not recommend pursuing a visit by an embassy officer at this time, which may risk further politicizing the case to FAJ's detriment. End comment.
5.(U) Informal translation of QDF letter follows: (Begin text) HR groups and media outlest have published much information over thepast few days on Fathi el-Jahmi. The QDF, to clarify, confirms that FAJ has not been sentenced to prison since his trial began, but rather has been living in a house with full medical care. TRIPOLI 00000104 002 OF 002 QDF notes that Physicians for Human Rights and the World Federation of Health Organizations have visited el-Jahmi and examined him medically. These groups expressed their thanks to the QDF for facilitating the visits. After the verdict against el-Jahmi, which confirmed that he was not mentally balanced, el-Jahmi was hospitalized in the Tripoli Medical Center on court order. He has been there since the verdict to the present. The QDF is committed to humanitarian principles and, owing to human rights concerns, enabled one of el-Jahmi's sons, Mohammed, to visit him many times, most recently last week; however, the QDF went even further. The QDF offered to the family that el-Jahmi return to his family home under medical treatment, but the family did not accept this suggestion, especially because some members of el-Jahmi's family wanted to exploit the case for political purposes. At a time in which the QDF has shown continued interest in FAJ's health and psychological condition and maintained a continuing relationship with FAJ's family, QDF was surprised by the recently published Human Rights Watch report (on January 30) stating that FAJ is seriously ill and required independent medical care. The QDF stresses the inaccuracy of the HRW report and calls on HRW to verify its claims directly. (End text of letter) STEVENS 0 02/08/2008 5838 PREL,PGOV,PHUM,LY NEW DEVELOPMENTS ON FATHI EL-JAHMI Echoing a letter posted on the Qadhafi Development Foundation's (QDF) website, the QDF's Executive Director, Dr. Youssef Sawani, told CDA February 7 that Fathi el-Jahmi's (FAJ's) family could take him home for treatment (but had so far declined to do so) and that NGO Human Rights Watch and an international, independent medical team may travel to Libya to assess FAJ's condition. He also offered to facilitate a visit by U.S. Emboffs to FAJ. Sawani maintained that FAJ is being held at the Tripoli Medical Center, where he receives "excellent" care, and is not/not being held at a prison detention facility. Sawani stressed that FAJ's brother, U.S.-based Mohammed el-Jahmi, has sought to exploit FAJ's case to embarrass the GOL.