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Libya Table of Contents

Libya

The Revolutionary Courts

In the early 1980s, a separate and parallel judicial system emerged that abrogated many procedures and rights ensured by the traditional court system. With the regime's blessing and encouragement, revolutionary committee members established revolutionary courts that held public, often televised, trials of those charged with crimes against the revolution. A law promulgated in 1981 prohibited private legal practice and made all lawyers employees of the Secretariat of Justice. In these courts, the accepted norms--such as due process, the right to legal representation, and right of appeal--were frequently violated. According to Amnesty International, Libya held seventy-seven political prisoners in 1985, of whom about eighteen were held without trial or remained in detention after having been acquitted. Others allegedly died under torture while in the custody of members of the revolutionary committees. Libya also sanctioned murder of political opponents abroad, a policy reaffirmed on March 2, 1985, by the GPC.

Data as of 1987