Libya's Ministry of Defence denies issuing document for Haftar's defence team

Libya's Ministry of Defence denies issuing document for Haftar's defence team

October 02, 2021 - 14:04
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Written By: SafaAlharathy

The Ministry of Defence of the Government of National Unity (GNU) has denied issuing a note requesting the US authorities to exempt Khalifa Haftar, who holds US citizenship, from interrogation in the US, stating that it "observers the rule of law and would not interfere in the work of the national or international judicial authorities."

While welcoming the denial, Emadeddin Muntasser the president of the Democracy and Human Rights Foundation, called upon the GNU to conduct a transparent investigation to determine if Haftar independently forged the document or if he had access to individuals within the ministry who might have provided him with this document.

Mr. Muntasser also called upon the GNU to make its findings available to US authorities as the document is a clear attempt to obstruct justice and violate US criminal laws.

On Friday, the Virginia Court rejected claims of Haftar's defence that he is immune from prosecution based on the Libyan Military Law and a decision by the Presidential Council (PC) Head Muhammad Menfi.

Esam Omeish, head of the Libyan-American Coalition, confirmed in press statements that a court session to hear in three cases lodged against Haftar in Virginia has ended "with a categorical rejection of Haftar's attorney's request to grant him immunity from the cases brought against him."

In its court filing, Haftar's defense team advised the court that "It is counsel’s understanding that this document was provided to counsel to assert the GNU’s position on this issue, i.e. that military secrets should not be disclosed pursuant to the Penal Code. Thus, this serves as official notice from the Libyan Government that Hafter is not to disclose military or state secrets."

The court rejected Haftar's motion for protective order and as a result he has to comply with the plaintiff's request for deposition. 

Mark Zaid, attorney for plaintiff Ali Hamza, asked the court to schedule this deposition on 14 October 2021.  Mr. Muntasser considered this ruling "as a major victory for the victims of these war crimes and will bring them closer to a final court judgement.