Wednesday, March 02, 2011

As the revolution in Libya seems set to extend into a brutal civil war Gaddafi seems intent on an unparalleled series of brutal attacks on his own people. The use of foreign mercenaries is part of this as is his use of the Libyan airforce to attack rebel held areas. One of the more hopeful developments is that many Libyan soldiers are refusing to participate in these massacres. This includes two Libyan airmen who flew their planes to Malta rather than participate in the massacres. To date they have not been granted asylum by the Maltese government. There is a petition on the site urging that the Maltese authorities grant their request. Here is the story.

How to stop the bombing of civilians in Libya‏
Ask Malta to grant asylum to Libyan pilots who refused to murder protesters.

While the situation in Libya may seem out of control, there is a very real opportunity for us to make a difference and protect civilian lives.

Here’s how: last week, two Libyan pilots were ordered to bomb civilian protesters by Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. They faced an unimaginable choice: bomb their countrymen or face likely execution if they returned without carrying out the attacks. Instead, they found a third option - flying their planes out of Libya and defecting to the nearby island nation of Malta. In doing so, they saved the lives of untold numbers of their fellow Libyans.

But now Malta's Refugee Commissioner Mario Guido Friggieri and President George Abela have refused to say whether they will give these pilots asylum. If the pilots are sent back to Libya, they will likely be executed. That outcome would also prevent military pilots and ship captains who receive similar orders from trying to save their own lives and the lives of their fellow Libyans.

A grassroots Libyan group called ENOUGH! has started a petition on to pressure the Maltese government to grant asylum to these two pilots, which will mean saving their lives and possibly preventing future attacks on civilians.

Tell Malta's government to grant asylum to the Libyan pilots who risked their own lives to save the lives of strangers:

We believe we can win this campaign and save the lives of these two pilots –– and perhaps many other Libyans if this helps to encourage more pilots and ship captains to refuse to attack civilians. If we succeed, we’ll work to spread the word in Libya that no one needs to die when soldiers are ordered to kill civilians.

Malta’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism, so public international opinion will mean more to its government than it does to most countries. But winning will take a massive outcry -- and with Gaddafi's violent attacks increasing in a desperate attempt to maintain power, every hour matters. Please sign the petition now:

Thank you for taking action,

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