Libya court invalidates parliament under pressure from Islamists

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Thursday, November 6, 2014

Libya's supreme court invalidated the country's internationally recognized parliament on Thursday, setting the stage for more political chaos in the violence-wracked nation.

The court's ruling, which cannot be appealed, prompted celebratory gunfire in the capital Tripoli, which has been held by Islamist-led militia since August, an AFP correspondent reported.

But it piled further pressure on the government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani which is holed up in the remote eastern town of Tobruk near the Egyptian border and has almost no control over Libya's three main cities.

The court had been asked by an Islamist lawmaker to rule on the constitutionality of the parliament elected in June that approved Thani's government, one of two rival administrations in the North African country.

Abderrauf al-Manai, who with other Islamist lawmakers has boycotted the parliament's sessions in Tobruk, argued that the legislature was in breach of the constitution because it was sitting in neither Tripoli nor second city Benghazi.

He had also argued that the parliament had exceeded its authority in calling for foreign military intervention after the militia takeover of the capital.

Meanwhile, conflict between local tribes are stalling the reopening of the southern el-Sharara oilfield, an oil official said on Thursday.

He said that Libya will open the field “very soon” as soon as the conflict is resolved.

Gunmen stormed the field and looted equipment at the 340,000 barrels a day field, shutting down production, oil officials said on Wednesday.

Details are unclear but pictures on social media showed damaged cars at the field located deep in the south where rival tribes have been fighting for weeks.

"I think this is a very local issue that can be solved," the official said. "I think they will restart production very soon."

Libya is being rocked by fighting between militias in the west and in second city Benghazi, where troops are trying to dislodge Islamists who control most of what was the cradle of the NATO-backed campaign that ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Amnesty International said in a report late October that both pro-government and rebel militias vying for control of western Libya are committing war crimes including torturing detainees and targeting civilians.

Last month, the United Nations called for a truce between government-backed forces and Islamist militias in Benghazi and in western Libya, but fighting continues unabated.

Since the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya’s uprising against Gaddafi, the authorities in the North African nation have failed to stamp their authority on the all the country’s components.

(AFP, Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

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