Libya's highest court hears appeal on speech law

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TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Libya's Supreme Court is reviewing an appeal from rights groups to revoke a law that criminalizes glorifying ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi or spreading "propaganda" that insults or endangers the state.

Rights lawyer Salah al-Marghani told the court on Sunday that the law is similar to Gadhafi-era measure aimed at stifling dissent and jailing the opposition.

He said the law is vague and could be used to imprison people for up 15 years just for criticizing the government.

International and local rights groups say the law contradicts the Constitutional Declaration by Libya's interim leaders guaranteeing freedom of speech.

The government's lawyer defended the law, telling the court it would help prevent national discord.

The court is set to rule June 14.

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