The 300-plus inmates at the notorious Tajura prison, 10 miles east of Tripoli, were relieved when they woke up one late-March morning to find the prison guards had been replaced. They were no longer bearded-men in civilian clothes, but the Libyan police in regular, official police uniforms. The interim government had finally managed to gain control of the notorious prison, in which some five different nationalities are being held without trial. Among them is my long-time friend and colleague from a university in Tripoli. He, just like many others, was picked up by armed militias in and around the Libyan capital. He is a university professor who was kidnapped from the busy shopping district, Gargarish last March.
Some inmates have been in the prison since October 2011 without trial, or charges. The change of guard should have brought, not only relief but, immediate freedom and the opportunity for the prisoners to have their day in the court of law, which is ironically still absent in Libya.