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Libya's 'Political Isolation Law' Generates Controversy

Libya's parliament is considering a bill that would categorize Libyans according to their roles during the regime of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Libyan National Congress President Mohammed Magarief speaks at a ceremony to mark the second anniversary of the country's revolution in Benghazi February 17, 2013. REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori  (LIBYA - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3DWRD

TRIPOLI, Libya — Who will enjoy the full rights of citizenship — including serving in public office — in the new Libya?  There may soon be an answer to this question. On Tuesday, parliamentarians began debating a draft of a bill known as the Political Isolation Law. The draft bill lists 36 different categories of Libyans considered “directly responsible” for “corrupting political, economic, social, and administrative life” in Libya during the 42 years of Moammar Gadhafi’s autocracy. The bill, seen by Al-Monitor, also specifies the government positions that banned individuals would be prevented from holding.

Lawmakers argue the law is a necessary and overdue step that the majority of Libyans support. While the desire to prevent those who aided Gadhafi’s abusive and corrupt regime from holding positions of power in Libya today is hard to fault, the draft law is unpopular among Libyan rights activists. Some say that aside from being impractical if not impossible to enforce, the bill will hinder progress toward initiating national reconciliation efforts and promoting the rule of law.

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