Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Executions in Libya

Delivered in Plenary - 17th June 2010

Mr President

Personally I have never taken an absolutist stance with regard to the death penalty, but surely it should only ever be countenanced in a handful of the most extreme and egregious criminal cases where the conviction is by due process and beyond all doubt.

However, I have very little confidence in the Libyan judicial system under the arbitrary and dictatorial nature of Muammar al-Gaddafi’s regime. He remains a dictator who controls his people through coercion and is intolerant of any dissent; that makes a mockery of Libya’s recent election to the UN Human Rights Council.

Nevertheless he exercises leverage over the EU and the West in general through his control of Libya’s vast oil reserves. This important economic relationship notwithstanding, I do hope that the Commission will continue to raise at every opportunity the grave concerns we have in this House about human rights and fundamental freedoms in Libya.

We all remember the infamous case of the Bulgarian nurses in Libya who were at one point sentenced to death before being finally released after much pleading from this House and the French President’s wife. We have a duty to do all we can to protect EU citizens from ever facing a similar situation in the future.