A Libyan military court Thursday postponed the trial against border patrol officer Gomaa Tantoush and two others charged with torturing Egyptians.
The suspects are charged with illegally detaining, stripping, beating, and verbally abusing two young Egyptian Bedouins while holding them in custody for a week in the Bardi region on the Libyan-Egyptian border.
A video of the torture aired on YouTube three weeks ago, causing a great deal of uproar among Bedouin tribes in Marsa Matrouh where the victims were from.
Bedouin youth launched a Facebook campaign to try the Libyan officer for humiliating the two Bedouins, Salah Saad Fadil and Kilani Selim Shuib, and forcing them to strip and spend the night naked.
Salah Bashir, attorney for the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EORH), presented a memorandum detailing the torture experienced by the two young men, drawing on information published on the internet. Bashir demanded that the EOHR file a lawsuit and pursue all legal measures to restore the dignity and rights of the Egyptians.
The lawyer asserted that Libyan rights organizations have shown a great deal of support and solidarity for the two young men. In addition, Bashir is coordinating with the Qhadafi Charity Organization to bring the Libyan officer to justice.
Following the spread of the video, Libyan agencies made several attempts to settle the issue with sheikhs from Bedouin tribes in Saloum and Sidi Barani and from the tribes of Qitaan, to which the victims belong. The Libyan agencies expressed willingness to offer any settlement in return for suspending the legal action against the Libyan officer. But the tribal sheikhs refused the offer and insisted on pursuing court action. According to them, this is an issue of dignity that must be solved through legal and legitimate channels.
The Liyban officer, Tantoush, and two other officers, face five charges in the ongoing trial, the first session of which was scheduled for Thursday in Tabruk martial court but was postponed.
A delegation of tribal sheikhs traveled to Tabruk on Thursday to attend the trial on official invitation from Libyan authorities. The delegation includes Abd Rabu Omar Abdul Magid, parliamentary representative from Marsa Matrouh, and Saleh Bashir, the young men's attorney.