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Political campaigners in Libya acquitted of charges of insulting Islam

A Tripoli court acquitted Fathi Sager and Ali Tekabli, members of the Libya National Party on March 2, 2014, of charges of insulting Islam.

Charges had been brought against them based on their political campaign posters during the 2011 elections for the General National Congress. The penalty for insulting religion – as stipulated in the Libyan Penal Code – is imprisonment.

The posters showed cartoons focusing on social issues, including women's role in society.

The posters showed several characters, including an elderly bearded man with a turban that the prosecution claimed was transmitted from a controversial cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

“The acquittal of these men was a positive development, but they never should have been charged in the first place,” said Sarah Leah Whitson , Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Rather, Libya should abolish its plethora of abusive laws that prescribe prison terms or the death penalty for vaguely defined speech related offenses.”

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