Gadhafi pays landmark visit to EU headquarters
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi made his first trip to Europe in 15 years Tuesday, seeking to improve ties despite disputes over a 1986 bombing and fresh charges of human rights violations.
Gadhafi arrived at the European Commission, the EU's executive branch, accompanied by his foreign and trade ministers.
The landmark trip resulted from what the EU termed Libya's "remarkable progress" in shedding its rogue nation status, including abandoning its nuclear weapons program and settling the Pan Am and UTA airliner bombing cases.
The Libyan leader was to meet European commissioners before dining with Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.
As Gadhafi arrived in Belgium Amnesty International, which in February made its first visit to Libya in 15 years, issued a report Tuesday accusing Libya of a "pattern of ongoing human rights violations" and of fostering a "climate of fear" in which most Libyans are afraid to speak out.
The group attacked Libya for criminalizing "the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression and association," detaining dissidents for long periods without access to outsiders and "unfair trials."
"Torture and ill-treatment (of prisoners) continues to be widely reported, its main use being to extract 'confessions'," Amnesty said. (Albawaba.com)
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