Landmark Ruling could have Big Implications for Libya's Leaders

Asked by Al-Monitor what proof he had to present to court, Mansouri said, “It was a video recording of Tarhouni speaking in Seattle, the United States, where he lived and worked for many years teaching at the University of Washington before returning to Libya in March 2011.”

However, the case, underreported in the local media, made history in the judiciary system in the new Libya, and is likely to have wide implications, since there are many other former and current officials who should not have been appointed or elected in some positions as they have dual citizenship.

The list includes the former speaker of the first elected General National Congress (GNC), Mohamed Yusuf al-Magariaf, and at least four others including former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, former GNC member Abdulrahman Swehli and former Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa A.G. Abushagur.

Al-Monitor asked Mansouri what can be done now with such individuals and if they can be prosecuted for forgery. He said, “Indeed they can be prosecuted even if they are no longer in their positions as per the law. They at least have to return the salaries and any other benefits they were paid while working. They also have to answer in court as to how they got elected while they were not eligible.” Asked if their work in the relevant bodies is no longer legal, Mansour said, “No, this is very unlikely since they were not a majority.”

In light of the new dialogue started in Tunis Sept. 26, to try to solve the political crisis, a group of Libyan activists took to the internet Sept. 29 to petition Ghassan Salame, the United Nations envoy to Libya, leading the talks, to make sure he is aware of the applicable Libyan laws as not to accept the nomination of any Libyan with dual citizenship to any position.

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