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June 5, 2012

Libyan court jails 24 foreigners for helping Gaddafi

Libyan court jails 24 foreigners for helping Gaddafi

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

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A court in Libya has sent 24 foreigners, mostly Ukrainians, to prison for supporting late leader Colonel Muamar al-Gaddafi’s regime by working on anti-aircraft missiles. The convicts say they are oil workers who were forced into the conflict which toppled Gaddafi.

A NATO B-2 bomber returns from an attack on Libya during last year’s uprising.

A Russian deemed to be the ringleader received a life sentence, while a second Russian, nineteen Ukranians, and three Belarussians were all given ten years’ hard labour. Belarussian ambassador Anatoly Stepus attended yesterday’s hearing and expressed surprise at “the worst kind of sentence. We thought that even if they were sentenced it would not be so strict. They have suffered a lot.”

The Ukrainian ambassador, Mykola Nahornyi, called the decision “inconsistent with the laws of the countries of the citizens who were tried,” and described “evidence which the court has on file that they were threatened with weapons by Gaddafi forces to [engage in] the building and maintenance of anti-aircraft weapons”.

The men have been held since their capture in August last year by rebels who had taken the city of Tripoli. Libyans and other Africans were detained alongside them. The missiles at the heart of the case were used to target NATO aircraft, which were supporting the rebellion against Gaddafi. The revolt ultimately toppled the regime, which had stood for 42 years.

The trial commenced in April and the prosecution alleged then the men were complicit in Gaddafi attacks on civilians whilst being “in the pay of Gaddafi and his brigades”. Ukraine vowed then to seek freedom for its citizens, or at least repatriation to serve sentence.

The defendants appeared in a cage within Tripoli’s Court Complex to hear the outcome. An estimated 1,500 Ukrainians were in Libya when the conflict erupted in February last year, with Libya-Ukraine relations strong under Gaddafi’s leadership. Gaddafi’s nurse was Ukrainian and the European nation, alongside Russia, was among the last countries to recognise the legitimacy of the new government in Libya.



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October 20, 2011

Former Libyan leader Gaddafi killed

Former Libyan leader Gaddafi killed – Wikinews, the free news source

Former Libyan leader Gaddafi killed

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Libya
Other stories from Libya
  • 16 February 2015: Islamic State execute 21 Coptic Christians held in Libya
  • 15 September 2014: Libya accuse Qatar of intervening on side of rebels
  • 7 September 2014: Libya accuse Sudan of arming ‘terrorist group’
  • 28 August 2014: US says Egypt and UAE responsible for air attacks on Tripoli
  • 24 August 2014: Renegade General’s forces claim responsibility for aerial attacks on Tripoli
…More articles here
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A photo of Muammar Gaddafi in 2009.
Image: U.S. Navy.

Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has been killed after heavy fighting in his home town of Sirte.

Libyan television today announced that former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi was killed by revolutionary forces in Sirte following weeks of brutal fighting.

The Libyan Prime minister said Gaddafi was captured unharmed by National Transitional Council forces but was shot in the head during crossfire with Gaddafi loyalists, and died soon after. There are various other, conflicting reports on Gaddafi’s cause of death.

Cquote1.svg Colonel Gaddafi is history Cquote2.svg

—Mahmoud Shammam

The National Transitional Council Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam has said that the death of Gaddafi was “a great victory for the Libyan people” and that “Colonel Gaddafi is history”.

A picture of a wounded man taken from a mobile phone was released shortly after the news of his capture broke, although it could not be independently verified whether the man was indeed Gaddafi.

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August 25, 2011

Trapped journalists in Libya freed

Trapped journalists in Libya freed – Wikinews, the free news source

Trapped journalists in Libya freed

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

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As many as three dozen correspondent journalists who were trapped inside the Rixos hotel in Tripoli for three days have finally been released unharmed.

Reporters from organisations such as the BBC, Reuters, Sky News, and CNN were freed around 4pm on Wednesday. The group were being held at the complex by armed men loyal to Gaddafi since Sunday night when the rebels stormed Tripoli and violence erupted in the surrounding streets.

CNN correspondent Matthew Chance said the journalists’ captivity ended when the guards were told about the changing situation in Tripoli and realized the regime might be over. A guard told the journalists, “Look, we’re not going to stop you from leaving anymore,” Chance reported. Shortly after being freed Chance posted on twitter, “#Rixos crisis ends. All journalists are out! #rixos.”

All the reporters who were held in the Rixos hotel were not even aware that the rebels had taken over Tripoli. Armed men loyal to Gaddafi, including snipers surrounded the hotel complex making it impossible for any of the journalists to go downtown and report on the severe conflict which is making a traumatic shift in the six month civil war. The hotel was one of the only places in the city still controlled by Gaddafi’s men.

Reportedly, the power was out on Sunday and Monday night and all the journalists could do was light candles and wait. Gunfire and explosions were heard from the direction of Gaddafi’s compound by journalists at the hotel. Trucks with machine guns were outside the Rixos and snipers were seen posted behind trees in the area. The journalists moved to the inside of the hotel to avoid being struck by stray bullets flying through glass windows.

Information on the situation was posted on twitter by the journalists who were being held captive. “Very dark, very quiet at the #Rixos some gunshots cracking outside,” tweeted CNN correspondent Matthew Chance during one of the power surges. Later on he then tweeted, ““#Rixos getting hit by stray bullets.”

The dozens of journalists were finally transported in Red Crescent cars to another Tripoli hotel, where they hugged friends and colleagues.



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August 22, 2011

Libya: Rebels edge closer to Tripoli

Libya: Rebels edge closer to Tripoli – Wikinews, the free news source

Libya: Rebels edge closer to Tripoli

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Libya
Other stories from Libya
  • 16 February 2015: Islamic State execute 21 Coptic Christians held in Libya
  • 15 September 2014: Libya accuse Qatar of intervening on side of rebels
  • 7 September 2014: Libya accuse Sudan of arming ‘terrorist group’
  • 28 August 2014: US says Egypt and UAE responsible for air attacks on Tripoli
  • 24 August 2014: Renegade General’s forces claim responsibility for aerial attacks on Tripoli
…More articles here
Location of Libya

A map showing the location of Libya

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Libya, see the Libya Portal
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2009 file photo of Muammar Gaddafi.
Image: U.S. Navy.

Libyan rebels edged closer to the capital city of Tripoli on Sunday to help fellow mutineers inside the city who declared a final clash with leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Following a night marred with gunfire, the rebels said that they controlled a handful of Tripoli’s localities. With the rebels within about 25 km of Tripoli, Gaddafi’s hold on power looks fragile. He labelled the rebels, who had been fighting for the past six months, as “rats” and said that he would not yield to their demands.

A coordinated revolt that rebels had been secretly planning for months saw gunfire across Tripoli, instantly after Muslim clerics called people onto the streets. The revolution, combined with rebels advancing to the capital’s periphery, appears to signal the critical chapter in the “Arab Spring” uprising, which is in its sixth-month now.

“The rebels may have risen too early in Tripoli and the result could be a lot of messy fighting,” said Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya. “The regime may not have collapsed in the city to quite the extent they think it has.”

The rebels’ advance toward the city was quick, and the mutineers have halved the distance between them and the capital. Government forces put up a brief fight at the village of Al-Maya, leaving behind a burned-out tank, and some torched cars. On their way to Tripoli, the rebels paused long enough and filled some walls with graffiti, one reading: “We are here and we are fighting Gaddafi.”

In Benghazi, the rebels’ main stronghold and the genesis of the revolt, a senior official said everything was going according to plan. “Our revolutionaries are controlling several neighborhoods and others are coming in from outside the city to join their brothers at this time,” said Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, vice chairman of the rebel National Transition Council.

Gaddafi — in hiding since the NATO attacks on Libya in June — said in an audio recording broadcast late yesterday that he had no intention of succumbing to the rebellion. A spokesman for Gaddafi, Moussa Ibrahim, in a briefing for foreign reporters echoed the message of defiance and said: “The armed units defending Tripoli from the rebels wholeheartedly believe that if this city is captured, the blood will run everywhere; so they may as well fight to the end.”

Cquote1.svg Those rats … were attacked by the masses tonight and we eliminated them Cquote2.svg

—Muammar Gaddafi

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“We hold Mr. Obama, Mr. Cameron and Mr. Sarkozy morally responsible for every single unnecessary death that takes place in this country,” he added, referring to the leaders of NATO members, the United States, United Kingdom, and France.

Underground rebel cells in the capital had been following detailed plans developed months ago and had been waiting for a signal to start. The signal was “iftar” – the moment when Muslims who observe the holy months of Ramadan break their daily fast. Imams started broadcasting their message from the loudspeakers of mosques and minarets.

A rebel activist in the city said pro-Gaddafi forces had put snipers on the rooftops of buildings around Bab al-Aziziyah, Gaddafi’s compound, and on the top of a nearby water tower.

State television flashed a message urging citizens not to allow rebels to hide on their rooftops. “Agents and al Qaeda members are trying to destabilize and sabotage the city. You should prevent them from exploiting your houses and buildings, confront them and cooperate with counter-terrorism units, to capture them,” it read.



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June 24, 2011

Libyan rebels in Misrata restrict press freedoms

Libyan rebels in Misrata restrict press freedoms

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Friday, June 24, 2011

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Rebel authorities in the Libyan city of Misrata have begun implementing tighter restrictions on foreign journalists in the city this week, in response to fears that spies for President Muammar al-Gaddafi may be among them.

Under the new restrictions, reporters have been barred from traveling to the front lines of the conflict, denied access to high-speed internet links and ordered to use translators approved by Misratan officials. Additionally, reporters accredited by the rebel government based in Benghazi, the National Transitional Council, are no longer recognized as such by local officials and are required to register with Misrata authorities or face deportation.

According to Mohammed Durat, an official in charge of the Misrata media center, the changes have come about because authorities “are afraid of spies from Gaddafi.” He also said that the new restrictions are intended to benefit reporters, saying that “[w]e are caring about you, we don’t want you to get any bad thing” and that “[y]ou should be happy about this.”

Morale in Misrata has fallen in recent weeks, after rebel forces have failed to expand the area they control after a month of fighting and are suffering increasing casualties. In the urban areas, after a month of reletive calm, pro-Gaddafi forces have again begun shelling buildings, with minimal response from NATO forces, despite a declaration on June 14 that NATO helicopter strikes would be carried out if civilian targets were attacked.



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June 12, 2011

Up to 31 reported dead as Libyan government troops attack Misrata

Up to 31 reported dead as Libyan government troops attack Misrata

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

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Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2009

Pro-Muammar al-Gaddafi forces attacked Libya’s third-largest city of Misrata for much of Friday, killing up to 31 rebel fighters in the most violent day since the city came under rebel control in April.

Most of the fighting took place just west of the city, where Gaddafi’s troops launched an attack with both infantry troops and four tanks, as well as lighter weaponry, such as rockets and mortars. Rebel fighters were reportedly able to repel the assault, destroying two tanks and advancing by about 6 miles (9.7 kilometres).

Estimates of those killed by the fighting varied from as low as 22 to as high as 31, with up to 60 more reported injured, according to doctors in Misrata, making Friday the deadliest day for rebel troops since they gained control of the city.

The new assault appears to be in response to NATO helicopter attacks against Gaddafi.

While NATO aircraft attacked both communications and military equipment on Thursday night, there were no strikes by coalition aircraft during the fighting on Friday. One rebel fighter said: “I don’t know why NATO didn’t bomb. [The tanks] were very easy to see.” While NATO has been criticized by rebels for failing to provide support, one unnamed official said that NATO is “in Libya to protect civilians. The rebels have proved themselves to be very courageous but we are not there to act as their air force.”


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May 8, 2011

Gaddafi loyalists allegedly using Red Cross helicopters to bomb rebel held city

Gaddafi loyalists allegedly using Red Cross helicopters to bomb rebel held city

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

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The official flag of the Red Cross
Image: Jon Harald Soby.

Forces loyal to besieged Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have entered into the rebel stronghold of Misrata, Libya, in helicopters bearing Red Cross markings to drop naval bombs on the port city, continuing a two-month long attack. Gaddafi forces are attempting to cut off humanitarian aid that the rebels are receiving, which primarily comes from ships which dock in Misrata’s port from humanitarian organisations.

The helicopters reportedly flew over Misrata, the third largest city in the country and located on the northwest coast of Libya, on Thursday and Friday, disguised as aid workers from the Red Cross to circumvent the no-fly zone, which was approved unanimously by the U.N. Security Council in March. The no-fly zone aims at making it impossible for Gaddafi loyalists to perform airstrikes on the rebels.

NATO, who is aiding the rebels in striking Gaddafi strongholds, stated that helicopters had been spotted flying over Misrata on Thursday, but could not confirm that the helicopters bore the Red Cross logo. A spokesperson did, however, confirm that no humanitarian missions had been scheduled to fly that day. A rebel spokesman told CNN that helicopters flying over the city on Saturday had Red Cross markings. The same day, Gaddafi’s troops were able to destroy six major fuel tanks in the city.

The latest incidents come after Italy confirmed it has not and will not supply the rebels with weapons to use against Gaddafi and his forces, but will consider sending non-lethal weapons such as radars and satellites. However, the rebel National Transitional Council said opposition representatives were flying to Italy to sign a deal that would see Italy send arms to rebel forces.



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April 23, 2011

U.S. drones enter Libya conflict

U.S. drones enter Libya conflict – Wikinews, the free news source

U.S. drones enter Libya conflict

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

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A Predator drone.
Image: U.S. Air Force/Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt.

The first attacks carried out by United States Predator drones in Libya reportedly occurred today, as the Pentagon confirmed a strike carried out by the U.S. Air Force but declined to give further details.

According to Pentagon spokesperson Darryn James, a captain in the U.S. Navy, the attack happened sometime Saturday, but withheld other information. According to the Pentagon, “common practice” regarding drone operations is to provide no more information than to confirm an attack. NATO later revealed the target was a multiple rocket launcher in the Misrata area. A statement from NATO said that, “[t]he MRL system had been used against civilians in Misrata.”

Robert Gates, the US Defense secretary, announced Thursday that President Barack Obama had given permission for drones to be used in the conflict due to their “unique capabilities.” Previously, drones had been used only in a surveillance role.

General James Cartwright, an official with the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that drones have an “ability to get down lower and therefore, to be able to get better visibility, particularly on targets that have started to dig themselves into defensive positions,” a benefit in Libya, where pro-Gaddafi forces are increasingly taking cover near civilian populations. Drones are able to make more precise attacks, which lowers the risk of civilian casualties in such areas.


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April 8, 2011

Britain touts private security contractors for Libya

Britain touts private security contractors for Libya

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Libya
Other stories from Libya
  • 16 February 2015: Islamic State execute 21 Coptic Christians held in Libya
  • 15 September 2014: Libya accuse Qatar of intervening on side of rebels
  • 7 September 2014: Libya accuse Sudan of arming ‘terrorist group’
  • 28 August 2014: US says Egypt and UAE responsible for air attacks on Tripoli
  • 24 August 2014: Renegade General’s forces claim responsibility for aerial attacks on Tripoli
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Location of Libya

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To write, edit, start or view other articles on Libya, see the Libya Portal
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A Eurofighter Typhoon (German) in flight. These are among the aircraft being used by the United Kingdom to help enforce the multinational Libyan no-fly zone.
Image: Kogo.

Britain has raised the idea of using private security firms as part of efforts to bolster military support for Libyan rebels. Defence officials speaking to The Guardian have floated the idea as Western powers examine ways to turn the tide of the rebels’ stuttering campaign against forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.

The sources also urged Arab countries to fund training for the rebels, whose inferior weaponry and organisation is widely agreed to have allowed pro-Gaddafi forces to check the insurgency’s recent gains.

The call to deploy private security contractors comes as the Afghan government has announced plans to phase out such operators over the next 12 months. The image of such firms has been severely tarnished by repeated revelations of abuse by the U.S. firm Blackwater Worldwide, subsequently renamed Xe Services. Blackwater executives and employees have faced civil lawsuits, criminal charges and Congressional investigations related to accusations of bribery and murder in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The collapse of numerous investigations related to several alleged incidents has raised questions about the legal accountability of firms operating in war zones on behalf of Western governments.

The suggested training of rebels and deployment of contractors appears to confirm Western powers’ determination to end Gaddafi’s grip on power.

Yesterday’s report in The Guardian interprets the move as the start of a new phase in the three-week-old NATO-led intervention in Libya, and a tacit admission by Western nations that the rebels are struggling to make ground despite NATO air support.

Britain’s focus on Arab participation in funding and training the rebels reflects a will on Western powers’ part to foster Arab ownership of the intervention, perceived as being crucial to building the legitimacy of the West’s support to Libyan rebels.

According to The Guardian, Western military strategy is now turning to cementing the rebels’ territorial gains before the negotiation of a ceasefire with the Gaddafi regime.


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April 1, 2011

More of Gaddafi\’s top officials defect

More of Gaddafi’s top officials defect – Wikinews, the free news source

More of Gaddafi’s top officials defect

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Friday, April 1, 2011

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Libyan Leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi
Image: Antônio Milena/ABr.

A number of new reports suggest that more of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s inner circle have deserted him.

Al Jazeera reports that a group of top officials who “headed to Tunisia for talks have decided to stay there”. Among the defectors reported are the head of Libya’s Popular Commitee, Mohammad Abu Al Qassim Al Zawi, and Abu Zayed Dordah, Libya’s prime minister from 1990 to 1994. Gaddafi’s Europe minister and head of intelligence have also defected according to reports. Security sources suggest that the total number of defectors could be up to a dozen.

Yesterday Ali al-Treiki, foreign minister of Gaddafi’s cabinet, announced he had cut ties with the leader, while officials in London have been checking reports that the deputy head of Gaddafi’s mission in London, Tarek Khalid Ibrahim, is planning on defection as well.

This latest breakthrough follows the defection of Libya’s foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, who abandoned Gaddafi’s regime and entered the United Kingdom on Wednesday.



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