HRW Calls to Suspend Death Sentences

Detainees, lawyers, and family members of defendants whom Human Rights Watch interviewed during 2013 throughout Libya complained about the lack of judicial reviews and access to legal representation.

Under the United Nations (UN) Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, states are required to guarantee that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment, or improper interference, and that their security is not threatened as a result of discharging their functions.

The UN Human Rights Committee, a body of independent experts who review countries’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), has said that, “In cases of trials leading to the imposition of the death penalty, scrupulous respect of the guarantees of fair trial is particularly important,” and that any death penalty imposed after an unfair trial would be a violation of the right to a fair trial.

Libya should join the many countries already committed to the UN General Assembly’s December 18, 2007 resolution calling for a moratorium on executions, part of a global trend toward abolishing the death penalty, Human Rights Watch said.

“Adherence to fair trial standards is more important than ever in death penalty cases,” Stork said. “Courts shouldn’t give in to pressure from the street, and Libya should align itself with the growing global consensus against the death penalty.”

(Source: HRW)

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