Landmark Ruling could have Big Implications for Libya's Leaders

Mansouri tried to have more members join him in taking the case to court, but no one seemed interested, either out of fear or believing the case would be inadmissible.

Mansouri told Al-Monitor, “Right after Tarhouni became chairman of the assembly, I started to question his membership in the assembly and how he got elected in the first place. Once I was sure, I decided to press ahead with the case — even without the support of other members.”

He said, “I became even more determined to have Tarhouni’s election invalidated as I watched him increasingly dominating the discussions trying to impose his own opinions despite the fact that we were required to vote on any proposed articles to be drafted and included in the new constitution.” The Constitutional Assembly was required to pass any draft of the constitution by simple majority of 35 members.

And indeed Mansouri complained to the court in eastern Libya in January 2016, and the case was postponed three times. But Tarhouni’s membership was suspended pending the outcome of the trial. When asked why so late, Mansouri said, “We had many complications and interruptions including the war of 2014, so practically we did not do much during the intervening period.”

On Sept. 20, Libya’s High Court in Tripoli issued its final verdict that indeed Tarhouni should not have been a member in the first place since he is a dual citizen of Libya and the United States. Tarhouni’s defense team failed to present the required documents set out in law No. 24, such as a written permission from the relevant authorities in Libya allowing him to have another citizenship and invalidating his Libyan citizenship once he became a US citizen.

He is required to go through another legal procedure to reclaim his original Libyan citizenship and renounce his American one in order to be elected.

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