BREAKING: Libyan High Court strikes down anti-free speech law

Follow clayclai on Twitter
This just in from Reuters:

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's Supreme Court scrapped a new law that criminalized the glorification of ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi or his supporters on Thursday after opponents argued it violated freedom of expression.

A lawyer who appealed against the measure said the ruling was an important step in ensuring democratic freedoms weeks ahead of the country's first free elections since last year's war ended Gaddafi's 42-year autocratic rule.

The Supreme Court had agreed to review the constitutionality of Law 37, which was passed by the ruling National Transitional Council last month.

The law sparked outrage among civil groups and legal experts. It prescribed prison sentences for the glorification of Gaddafi as well as for publishing news "harming the February 17 revolution".

"In the name of the people, the court has decided to accept the appeal of Law 37 of 2012 as it is unconstitutional," judge Kamal Bashir Dahan said in a brief hearing on Thursday.
Appealing lawyer Salah Al-Merghani welcomed the decision, which came before the country heads to the ballot box on July 7 to elect a national assembly, paving the way for a new constitution.

"This law is unconstitutional as it prevents the freedom of speech. We are nearing elections and a basic step is to ensure there is freedom of speech," he said.

On May 5, 2012 Human Rights Watch called upon Libya to Revoke Draconian New Law:

(New York) – Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) should immediately revoke a new law that bans insults against the people of Libya or its institutions, Human Rights Watch said today. The law also prohibits criticism of the country’s 2011 revolution and glorification of the deposed former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The law violates Libya’s provisional constitutional covenant and international human rights law, both of which guarantee free speech, Human Rights Watch said.

“This legislation punishes Libyans for what they say, reminiscent of the dictatorship that was just overthrown,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “It will restrict free speech, stifle dissent, and undermine the principles on which the Libyan revolution was based.”

This high court ruling represents another great stride for the Libyan Revolution and another set back for anti-interventionists turned counter revolutionary who like repeating themselves about how Libya has no functional judiciary and enjoyed pointing to law 37 as an example of dictatorship returning to Libya.

Poll Shows 97% of Libyans Support the Revolution!

From the Libyan Rorschach, June 13, 2012:

Using a bright blue pen, the young man behind the cash register in the kebab shop on the outskirts of Tripoli began to methodically scratch out the face of Muammar al-Qaddafi from his stack of one-dinar notes. About halfway through the pile, he greeted a bill that had already been defaced with a happy nod and smile of satisfaction. After exhausting the one-dinar notes he turned to the 20s, and began surgically excising a miniature Brother Leader from a summit group photo.

Prior to February 17, 2011 everything in Qaddafi’s Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya was physically painted a shade of light green to symbolize the political system of stateless government laid out in the Brother Leader’s Green Book. (The term jamahiriya was coined by Qaddafi and is usually loosely translated as “state of the masses” or “peopledom.”) Today, the country is awash in the red, green and black tricolor scheme of the pre-Qaddafi era Libyan flag, which has been adopted by the revolutionaries as their standard. In Tripoli, where several neighborhoods had loyalist rather than revolutionary reputations, these coats of fresh paint and the common practice of doctoring car license plates to cover the word jamahiriya might raise an eyebrow. But what of the kebab seller’s currency handiwork, which appeared to be a private act of conviction?

From the outside, the picture in Libya looks unremittingly bleak. A near daily chronicle of rampaging militias, conflict and chaos headlines coverage by the wire services. But perhaps a casualty of the closure of foreign bureaus and the lesser interest that exists when no U.S. boots are on the ground, some perspective is lacking from the often barebones news reports.

Eight months after the brutal death of Qaddafi marked the end of the civil conflict that followed Libya's popular uprising, support for the regime change appears to have if anything grown. Even if some of this backing falls into the "everyone loves a winner" category, a full 97 percent of Libyans surveyed by Oxford Research International in January thought the revolution was absolutely or somewhat right.

But is the mere fact of the revolution being broadly popular enough to make it right? Is it a sufficient platform to produce a secure and brighter future for Libya?

So 97% of Libyans support the "regime change" that just took place in Libya. What percentage of the US left opposed it? How many in the US left could care less what the Libyan people wanted and preferred to cling to the romantic legends spun for them by "Brother Leader." What percentage was willing to overlook the 1996 massacre of 1270 prisoners in Abu Salim prison and many, many other atrocities against the Libyan people to preserve there illusions, What percentage of the US left is going the same thing now as the Syrian people are being slaughtered by another "anti-imperialist" dictator?

For more background on the Libyan Revolution and links to lots of information see my other writings at the DailyKos and WikiLeaks Central:
Where should Libya's Saif Qaddafi be tried?
MSM plays Hankey Panky with Libya
Qaddafi lies live on after him
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Libya's Qaddafi helped US & Israel against Iran in Olympic Games
Why is Russia demanding NATO boots on the ground in Libya?
#LyElect Libyans register to vote 1st time in 60 years
Libya's Revolution: How We Won - The Internationale in the 21st Century
Good News from Libya
On Libya & Glenn Greenwald: Are the anti-interventionists becoming counter-revolutionaries?
UN: NATO killed 60 civilians in Libya
Libya in the news today
Amnesty International on Libya again
The Current Situation in Libya
Democracy Now & Amy Goodman gets it wrong again.
Why is Chris Hedges calling for "boots on the ground" in Libya?
The Worm Has Turned: Good Film on Libyan Revolution from PressTV
Why NATO's mission in Libya isn't over yet
Libya's Freedom Fighters: How They Won
Racism in Libya
Abdul Rahman Gave his Eyes to See the End of Qaddafi
BREAKING: Secret files reveal Dennis Kucinich talks with Qaddafi Regime
BREAKING: Libyan TNC won't extradite Lockerbie bomber
Who really beat Qaddafi?
#Feb17: @NATO Please help MEDEVAC wounded from #Libya
What should those that opposed NATO's intervention in Libya demand now?
BREAKING: Qaddafi's Tripoli Compound Falls!
Does PDA Support Qaddafi?
BREAKING: Operation Mermaid Dawn, the Battle to Liberate Tripoli is Joined
Helter Skelter: Qaddafi's African Adventure
Qaddafi's Long Arm
SCOOP: My Lai or Qaddafi Lie? More on the 85 Civilians presumed killed by NATO
Did NATO kill 85 Libyan Villagers As Qaddafi Regime Contends?
CCDS Statement on Libya - a Critique
The Assassination of General Abdul Fattah Younis
NATO over Tripoli - Air Strikes in the Age of Twitter
How Many Libyans has NATO Killed?
Qaddafi Terror Files Start to Trickle Out!
Have Libyan Rebels Committed Human Rights Abuses?
Tripoli Green Square Reality Check
Behind the Green Curtain: Libya Today
Gilbert Achcar on the Libyan situation and the Left
NATO slammed for Libya civilian deaths NOT!
2011-07-01 Qaddafi's Million Man March
NATO's Game Plan in Libya
February 21st - Tripoli's Long Night
Did Qaddafi Bomb Peaceful Protesters?
Tripoli Burn Notice
Libyans, Palestinians & Israelis
'Brother' Qaddafi Indicted plus Libya & Syria: Dueling Rally Photofinishs
An Open Letter to ANSWER
ANSWER answers me
2011-06-22 No Libyans allowed at ANSWER Libya Forum
Are they throwing babies out of incubators yet?
Continuing Discussion with a Gaddafi Supporter
Boston Globe oped supports Gaddafi with fraudulent journalism
2011-04-13 Doha summit supports Libyan rebels
Current Events in Libya
Amonpour Plays Softball with Gaddafi
Arming Gaddfi
North African Revolution Continues
Is Libya Next? Anonymous Debates New Operation