Fathi Al-Jahmi became an activist for democracy in the 1970s. When he was a provincial governor in 2002, he criticized Muammar al-Gadhafi’s authoritarian regime, calling for free elections, a free press, and the release of political prisoners. The same year, he was sentenced to five years for speaking out against the government. He was released in 2004 and arrested again a month later.
Despite his deteriorating health, El-Jahmi never ceased his campaign for change, indicating in a 2005 interview with Physicians for Human Rights Dr. Dan Otter that he is “struggling for human rights, for democracy, for this country [and] will call for democracy and transparency in Libya”.
In a statement, Amnesty International said:
Amnesty International is greatly distressed by the news of the death of Libyan opposition leader Fathi el-Jahmi earlier today in an Amman, Jordan, hospital following his recent “release” and transfer from detention at the Tripoli Medical Center in Libya.
An advocate of political reform, he was detained in Libya in March 2004 and held without charge or trial, most recently at the Tripoli Medical Center. Approximately two weeks ago, he was flown to Jordan for medical treatment.
Amnesty International is still seeking clarification from the Libyan authorities as to the circumstances in which el-Jahmi, who was an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, became seriously ill and was transferred to Jordan.