CEDAW/C/78/D/130/2018

1.
The author of the communication is Magdulein Abaida, a national of Libya born
in 1987. She claims to be the victim of a violation by Libya of her rights under articles 1,
2 (b), (d) and (e), 3, 5 (a) and 7 (c) of the Convention. The Convention and the
Optional Protocol thereto entered into force for the State party on 15 June 1989 and
18 September 2004, respectively. The author is represented by counsel, Juergen
Schurr of REDRESS.
Facts as submitted by the author
2.1 The author has lived in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Ireland, where she has refugee status, since September 2012. Before her departure
from Libya, she worked as a financial assistant and translator for journalists,
companies and regional bodies in Tripoli. As a women’s human rights defender, she
had registered her own women’s rights organization, Hakki (“My Right”), and
collaborated with Creative Associates International, DanChurchAid and other
organizations for women’s empowerment.
2.2 On 7 February 2012, she participated in a demonstration in Tripoli, “Libyan
women’s day of anger”, about the lack of quotas for women in the national elections
and comments by the Chair of the National Transitional Council on men having
multiple wives. The organizers’ names, including the author’s, were subsequently
published on Libyan Facebook pages. She and others received messages accusing
them of trying to destroy the Islamic way of life. The commander o f a powerful
militia, the Martyrs of 17 February Brigade, claimed that the organizers had
repudiated their own culture, including by not covering their hair. As a consequence,
the author and others were afraid to leave their homes.
2.3 Later that month, in an interview on Libyan television, the author explained the
reasons for the demonstration and commented on women’s rights in Libya. The
following month, filmmakers interviewed her about the situation of women in Tripoli.
She helped them to conduct interviews with a number of women in Tripoli, Misratah
and Zuwarah. On their way back to Tripoli, she and the filmmakers were stopped from
filming by armed men, who prevented them from leaving. Eventually, an officer took
their footage from them and released them.
2.4 In June 2012, while working as a translator for a European Union adviser, the
author met a Libyan Jewish representative, R., for whom she began to work as a
translator for three journalists making a documentary. She had understood the lead
journalist to be French but was later informed that he was an Israeli citizen.
2.5 On 19 July 2012, in Benghazi, the author was interviewed about the human
rights situation in Libya, as a contribution to the documentary. She believes that she
was covertly filmed by an unknown man. At a makeshift checkpoint on the way to
the airport, armed men stopped the car and told the occupants, including the author,
that the vehicle had to be checked for explosives. They were taken to a compound,
where guards told the author that her belongings made her suspicious. They asked
about her relationship with R. and whether she preached Judaism. She was released,
without her belongings, after four to five hours of interrogation. On 20 July 2012, she
returned to Tripoli, where she filed a complaint about her arrest and detention with
the National Council for Civil Liberties and Human Rights. The Council issued a
memorandum about her case; however, she subsequently received no further
information. She was later informed that R. had been detained for 10 days, that one
of the journalists worked for an Israeli television channel and that pictures of her and
others with R. had been published on social media, where they were depicted as
traitors. She received threats, including comments that she and others in the pictures
should be executed.

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21-04766

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