“I will not let my father die in jail”. The appeal of Sarah Al-Senussi daughter of Gaddafi’s ex-spy chief

By Vanessa Tomassini.

I call on the International Community, the Security Council, the Libyan Government, if there is one, on the concerned security authorities to immediately release my father, Abdullah Al-Senussi, to receive the necessary care and saving his life. I will do anything, through all the ways and methods, because I will never leave him die slowly behind bars in front of my eyes. Until now, my father has not been convicted for any crime”. Sarah Al-Senussi, Daughter of Gaddafi’s ex-intelligence chief, tell us. “We know – she adds – he didn’t do anything. Also, February side, who is controlling Libya now and before, like Abdulhakim Belhadj, Mohammed Abu Sidra, recognized several times that my father should be released. If my father has any accountability for any crime, why in more than eleven years there is no rule, no sentence against him? My father has never got involved in fighting and he tried his best to avoid Libyans to kill each other. Even for Abu Salim prison massacre, where around 1200 people have been killed in June 1996, my father was not there. He actually set two days later with the prison chief of security and six or seven prisoners to find a solution, and they still alive until today. If my father killed 1.200 persons, those people who saw him should have been the first to be eliminated. There is nothing on his charge. No evidences, no legal records, even for the facts occurred in 2011. The 2014 sentence has been cancelled and they are going under trial again after more than eleven years”.  In Libya, most of the prisoners from the former regime have been released as part of the National Reconciliation process efforts, except Abdullah Mansour and Abdullah Al-Senussi. Senussi was director of military intelligence and brother-in-law of colonel Muammar Gaddafi. He was charged by the ICC with crimes against humanity following the outbreak of popular demonstrations in Libya in February 2011. Libya successfully challenged the ICC case, with the international judges ruling that national proceedings against al-Senussi would take precedence under the Rome Statute’s principle of complementarity. So far, there is no rule against him.

My father was moved to Mitiga prison under control of Abdel Raouf Kara on 16 December 2019. He has been handed over to Kara (ed Special Deterrence Force) by the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade of Haytham Al-Tajouri. Me and my sister Anoud were able to visit him two times in May 2021, this was the only meeting since he was imprisoned in Mitiga. Our little brother saw him three months ago after the second operation to the heart. The first operation was in March and the second in June. Since he moved there, we spoke with him on the phone just six times because all of our family is living outside Libya since the 2011 war. One time we were able to talk for half an hour, but the other times just ten minutes. That’s why we cannot have full information. He just asks us how we are, how is going with him as the time is not enough. In our last call, about three months ago, as I provided the medicines from a doctor outside the country, I questioned him about the treatment he is receiving for his heart and the cancers. The jailer who was behind him said: ‘no you cannot give the name of the medicines, when, where and which doctor made the surgery after the last heart attack. I don’t know what’s the big secret! There are some drugs that cannot be taken together as they can have negative effects if combined. I’m not asking secrets of State”. Sarah Al-Senussi reveals, stressing the serious health conditions of her father Abdullah, who is not able to receive visits even from the Ministry of Justice’s Medical Committee in the Government internationally recognized.

“They do not let us know anything. We discovered that he went under surgery after two months from the first operation! They didn’t even tell us he had a heart attack and the emergency had to bring him urgently to the hospital. And the second surgery should have been done after one month from the first, but after all our efforts and media campaign, he had the surgery three months later. That is so bad for his health, that’s why his conditions worsened. We are talking about the heart, it’s not something you can play with. Also, because he is getting old, he is 72-years-old today. He suffers of several other diseases, he has a prostate cancer that we don’t know if benign or malignant, or how much it has grown over the past years. He’s supposed to do a biopsy or an ultrasound, but he didn’t do any of that. The last ultrasound, in 2016, showed that the prostate cancer dimension was 65 mm. I got a treatment for him from a German doctor by referring his symptoms he told me the last time I visited him. We are talking about generic medicines, nothing specific, due to lack of information on his medical records”. The daughter tells us.

“Our Maghara tribe met the Libyan Prime Minister months ago and they asked: ‘why you released all detainees, you exchanged war prisoners from Haftar side, why not our son Abdullah Al- Senussi?’. Abdel Hamid Al-Dabaiba told them the first responsible for my father’s release is the United States. Dabaiba told us that the Americans prevent his liberation. My father’ destiny doesn’t depend on Libyans but from foreign countries. We tried last year, through our tribe, to cut the water demanding for his release. After nine days, my father called our tribe to re-open it because he didn’t like the Libyan people to stay without water because of him, even if he can die. He didn’t want this responsibility. My father since 2018 doesn’t meet even his lawyer. He has a trial for the events occurred during the war in 2011 and he was not able even to attend the Court’s sessions. Also, the Justice Minister asked the Medical Committee to visit my father but Abdel Raouf Kara did not allow them to see him. About twenty days ago, the Justice Minister Halima Abdul-Rahman met the Presidential Council to discuss a solution. She tried to make all the procedures but Kara prevented the medical committee of the Ministry of Justice to enter my father’s jail. Mrs. Halima told us she did everything in her power but nobody is listening to her. She informed the president of the Presidential Council, Mohamed Al-Mnefi, as well. We are trying our best, even yesterday, the Maghara tribe met the vice president Abdullah Al-Lafi to discuss the release of my father. We don’t have more time; our patience is ending. We cannot wait more, after eleven years”. She continued with her voice broken by pain and concern for her father’s conditions in Mitiga prison in the Libyan capital Tripoli.

She concluded, renewing the appeal for her father Abdullah Al-Senussi’s release to Libyan factions and the international actors who have power over them: “I believe they are getting rid of him slowly by neglecting his health conditions. That is what I can see but I don’t know who wants that: is Europe, America, ICC, Libyans? We don’t know who controls my father’s destiny. In Mitiga, there is also a Turkish military base. Preventing checkups, treatments, access to doctors and medical care, mean killing my father slowly because of his serious illness. So, where is humanity, where are the human rights and the civil State the Libyans fought for?”.

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