Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Women's Rights Under Constant Attack in Post-Gaddafi Libya
Military in east of country bar women under 60 from going overseas without male chaperones for ‘security reasons

Women under the age of 60 resident in east Libya have been banned from travelling alone by military officials in charge of the area, it has emerged.

The decision made last week by local military ruler Abdel-Razek al-Nadhouri barring younger women from going abroad without a male guardian was made for national security rather than religious reasons, reports said.

Women who frequently traveled abroad for work claiming to represent civil society groups were being used as foreign intelligence services, Mr Nadhouri claimed in a televised interview on Thursday.

The decision - which a spokesperson for Mr Nadhouri confirmed - will apply to all passengers travelling over land, air and sea - has been met with widespread mockery.

“It is ridiculous that in 2017 we discuss if it is OK for women under 60 years to travel without a guardian male who might be 20,” activist Imam Bugaighis tweeted.

A version of Enrique Iglesias’ song ‘Hero’, with the lyrics changed to “I can be your mahram [guardian] baby,” is being widely circulated on social media.

Libya has been divided between several "ruling authorities" since the United States and NATO-backed counter-revolution which resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands, the destruction of the national economy and the brutal slaying of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 - who headed the internationally recogniszed government in the capital, Tripoli.

The new measure was not voted on by al-Beyda’s parliament.

Airport authorities told the Associated Press the rule has not yet gone into effect, but local reports say it has been implemented at Labraq airport in the country’s east.

The restriction is widely seen as highlighting tensions between the disparate neo-colonial regimes.

Tripoli’s politicians have sought to undermine the authority of CIA asset and former renegade General Khalifa Haftar's al-Beyda government, which has been fighting Isis and other jihadist militia forces since 2014.

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