Libya: Journalist arbitrarily arrested by intelligence services at Tripoli airport

Libyan journalist Ridha Fheel al-Boom was arbitrarily arrested on December 14 at Tripoli's airport by the Lybian intelligence agency. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called on authorities to release him immediately and respect the rule of law.

Tripoli's airport. Credits: AFP

Ridha Fheel al-Boom is a journalist and founder of The Libyan Organization for Independent Media, which tracks and documents human rights violations against Libyan journalists. He was detained on Saturday night on his return from neighbouring Tunisia. He is still under arrest but the reasons behind his detention remain unclear.

Several international bodies have expressed serious concerns over Ridha's situation.

The European Union Delegation to Libya, together with the EU Heads of Mission and the Head of Mission of Canada issued a statement on Tuesday 17, saying that the EU is “concerned that Mr. Fheel Al-Boom is the subject of yet another case of the arbitrary detention of a journalist and a human rights defender, in violation of Libya's obligation under international human rights law.” The EU said it is monitoring relevant sources to advocate for al-Boom’s release.

The United Nations Support Mission (UNSMIL) also expressed its concerns about the arrest and is demanding his release or referral to a judicial authority. The interior minister of the UN-backed Libyan government denied involvement in the arrest of Fheel Al-Boom and recognised he was arrested by the intelligence services.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “We are concerned by the current situation of Ridha. We call on the authorities to immediately release him. The arbitrary arrest of a journalist is an unacceptable violation of human rights”.

The IFJ sent today a letter to Fayez al Sarraj, the prime minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA), demanding protections of journalists and union activists in Libya following a campaign of incitement to violence against them earlier this week published on Facebook by a group linked to GNA.

For further information contact IFJ Middle East & Arab World on +32 (0) 2 235 22 11

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Find the Middle East and Arab World IFJ regional office on Twitter (in Arab): @IFJ_AR