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Cablegate: Nea/Mag Director Discusses Human Rights and Lifg

VZCZCXRO0583
PP RUEHTRO
DE RUEHTRO #0920 3311650
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 261650Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4188
INFO RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1321
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 0681
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0825
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 0771
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0944
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0631
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 4710

C O N F I D E N T I A L TRIPOLI 000920

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR NEA/MAG (NARDI, JOHNSON), DRL/NESCA (JOHNSTONE,
KWIRAM) AND S/CT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/26/2018
TAGS: PHUM PREL PGOV PTER KISL PINR LY
SUBJECT: NEA/MAG DIRECTOR DISCUSSES HUMAN RIGHTS AND LIFG
NEGOTIATIONS WITH QADHAFI DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION

REF: A) TRIPOLI 819, B) TRIPOLI 472, C) TRIPOLI 280, D) TRIPOLI 577

CLASSIFIED BY: Chris Stevens, CDA, Embassy Tripoli, U.S. Dept of
State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1. (C) In a meeting with Qadhafi Development Foundation (QDF)
Executive Director Yusuf Sawani, visiting NEA/MAG Director a
Stephanie Williams urged the GOL to release detained human
rights activist Fathi el-Jahmi without conditions and facilitate
his travel abroad for medical care if he chose to pursue that.
Williams, accompanied by A/DCM, PAO and Econoff, met with Sawani
on November 6. She acknowledged the release of self-described
regime critic Dr. Idriss Boufayed, who is critically ill with
cancer, from detention on October 8 (ref A) as a positive
development and urged that the QDF help facilitate his travel
abroad for needed medical care. Noting the interest of EU
member states, she urged the QDF to do all it could to encourage
the Government of Libya (GOL) to release the ten other members
of Boufayed's group, who were arrested on the eve of a planned
peaceful demonstration in Tripoli's Martyrs' Square in February
2007 and sentenced to lengthy prison terms earlier this year
(ref B).

2. (C) Reprising arguments we've heard before, Sawani argued
that el-Jahmi was mentally unstable and his own worst enemy.
The QDF had made repeated efforts to secure his release, but he
and his family had refused to take the steps necessary to
facilitate that. (Note: As reported ref C and previous, el-Jahmi
has rejected any conditions for his release, and has refused to
permit his son, Muhammad, to sign an agreement that he would
refrain from political statements and discussing his detention
if he were released. End note.) El-Jahmi's U.S.-based brother,
Muhammad el-Jahmi, had exploited Fathi el-Jahmi's case to pursue
a political vendetta against al-Qadhafi and the GOL, Sawani
said. Sawani denied reports that the regime was quietly seeking
to influence the el-Jahmi tribe to disown Fathi el-Jahmi as a
precursor to liquidating him. He stressed that the most senior
levels of the GOL, including security officials, are aware of
and invested in el-Jahmi's case, which made it difficult for the
QDF to play a positive role. On Boufayed, Sawani said the QDF
was working to secure his passport and permission for him to
travel. He was noncommital on the possibility that the ten
members of the Boufayed group remaining in detention would be
released soon.

3. (C) Separately, Sawani said talks between the QDF and
imprisoned members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)
were continuing and that release of a further tranche of LIFG
members was expected by year's end, possibly in connection with
the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday. (Note: As reported ref D,
tranches of 131 and 40 LIFG members were released in April and
June, respectively, in connection with talks under the auspices
of the QDF. End note.) Acknowledging reports that there had
been "handicaps" to efforts to reintegrate former LIFG members
into Libyan society after their release, he stressed the QDF's
emphasis on "transitional justice", i.e., financial
compensation, restitution of legal and property rights and help
with job placement for those released. The extent to which
former LIFG members are able to be rehabilitated and
reintegrated into Libyan society would bear on Libya's domestic
political reform efforts, he said. Accordingly, Saif al-Islam
al-Qadhafi, son of Muammar al-Qadhafi and Chairman of the QDF,
continued to play a role in the ongoing discussions with
imprisoned LIFG members. Sawani expressed hope that U.S.-Libya
relations would continue in the spirit of cooperation that had
recently obtained, saying the GOL would otherwise cease its
support for QDF initiatives like the LIFG talks. (Comment:
Sawani implied, but did not say, that the QDF's ability to
mediate on human rights issues would be further circumscribed if
the GOL sensed it was subject to external pressure. End
comment.)

STEVENS

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