PRESS RELEASE FROM
THE MOUSSA SADR CASE:
A CALL TO LYBIAN AUTHORITIES
Libya today chairs the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. We urge Libya to come forward with the fate of Imam Moussa SADR, Sheik Muhammad YACOUB, and Mr. Abbas BADREDDINE.
Imam Moussa SADR was born in Iran on June 4, 1928. He holds degrees in Islamic Law, Economics, and Religious Sciences from Iran and Iraq. In 1955 he visits Lebanon for the first time, and becomes acquainted with the Lebanese side of his family near the city of Tyre. The spiritual leader of the Shiite community, Hojjatul-Islam Sayyed Abdel Hossein Sharafeddine, quickly recognizes SADR's leadership qualities.
At the death of Sharafeddine in 1959, SADR becomes the spiritual leader of Lebanon's Shiite community. He designs and implements an education, sanitation, and social development program in the region of Tyre, a program that he would later spread to other areas in Lebanon. He is also a major proponent of inter-religious dialogue.
Moussa SADR's political role in Lebanon becomes prominent, particularly in the struggle against Israeli incursions into Lebanese territory and in his advocacy for supporting the most destitute among Lebanon's districts and people. On May 23, 1969, he is elected President of the Shiite Supreme Council. From the start of the war in Lebanon in 1975, Imam Moussa SADR will do his utmost to calm tensions and conflicts between Lebanon's religious communities. He advocates national unity and entente. With the deterioration of the conflict, SADR undertakes a tour of the Middle East that takes him to, among other countries, Libya on August 25, 1978, at the invitation of Libyan government.
On August 31, 1978, Imam Moussa SADR and his two travel companions Sheik Muhammad YACOUB and journalist Abbas BADREDDINE disappear in Libya, on the same day of their meeting with Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.
Libyan authorities say that the three individuals clandestinely left Libya for Italy prior to their meeting with Qaddafi, a version of events that was refuted by Lebanese and Italian investigators, and by a verdict from an Italian court. Other sources say that the meeting with Qaddafi did indeed take place, but that it was difficult and acrimonious leading to the incarceration of the three visitors at the conclusion of the meeting.
The Declaration for the Protection of All Persons Against Enforced Disappearances, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 18, 1992, makes it compulsory for member states to investigate disappearances that occur on their territories.
SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) hereby requests the Libyan authorities to comply with this obligation by unveiling the facts behind this case of enforced disappearance.
Paris, April 6, 2003.