Deadline on Investigation on Bernard-Henri Lévy’s Visit Ends With No Public Briefing – Al Marsad

On 27 July 2020, the President of the Presidential Council, Fayez al-Sarraj, issued his decision no. 508 for the year 2020 based on the exigencies of the public good to investigate the controversial visit by Bernard-Henri Lévy to Libya and which was connected to the GNA’s Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha.

(Libya, 1 August 2020) – According to the provisions of this decision, an investigation committee chaired by the head of the Internal Security Agency and which included the Undersecretary of the Interior Ministry Khaled Mazen, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Transportation Hisham Abu Al-Shikiwat, and a representative of the Intelligence Service at the rank of Brigadier General was to undertake the mission. Bashagha was not a member of this committee.

This Committee was to investigate the arrival of Lévy and his delegation through Misrata Airport and interrogate all the concerned elements at the Airport.

On 26 July, Al Marsad had obtained from a source in the Presidential Council the identities and names of the delegation accompanying Lévy in this visit, which the source described as “shady”, stressing that it was arranged by Fathi Bashagha behind the backs of the Turks.

Lévy entered Libya as a manager of a lobbying and public relations company, which Bashagha seeks to use to promote himself whilst abusing his position as the Interior Minister.

According to Sarraj’s decision, the investigation was to also include the Director General of Misrata Airport, the Director of Airport Security, the Director of Airport Passport Control, the Director of Internal Security Agency, and the Director of the Libyan Intelligence Agency.

TIME LIMIT

On 27 July, a day after Al-Marsad published the identities of the Lévy’s delegation, the Committee was required to report on the results of its investigation to Sarraj within five days from the issuance date of his decision. In other words, the outcome of the report should be known on 31 July. Adding two days after the leakage date of the decision, the deadline actually ended with no report issued.

As this case has turned into a public opinion issue, the investigation committee should have published its results and determined who was specifically responsible for the entry of Bernard-Henri Lévy into Libya and the true objective of his visit since all parties have denied responsibility, including the External Media Department, which is technically responsible for granting him a permit and entry visa if he had allegedly the country as a journalist.

The important question on the public’s mind was whether this investigation would see light of day? Would the Government of National Accord (GNA) demonstrate that transparency is indeed a key pillar of the civil state it keeps proclaiming to the international community? Or would its outcome remain hostage to political extortion and thus locked away from public scrutiny along with the results of the investigation committees of the Brak al-Shati massacre, Garabulli village, the oil port attacks between 2016-2018 by Ibrahim Jadhran and others, including most recently the investigation committee on the outbreak of the coronavirus, which included Khaled Mazen, who is also a member in the Lévy Committee.

We await further updates on the probe by the Tripoli-based GNA.

© Al-Marsad English (2020)