Times 2

New reign of terror in Libya

7,000 held in prisons amid allegations of torture
By Tom Leonard

Thousands of people including women and children are being held illegally and tortured by rebels who helped oust Colonel Gaddafi, according to a UN report. Around 7,000, many of them foreigners, are behind bars in private prisons and makeshift detention centres, beyond the control of the new Libyan government and without access to any legal redress.

Racism? Fighters loyal to the NTC hold captive a sub-Saharan African man suspected of working as a mercenary for Gaddafi in this August 25 photo
Out of control: Libyan rebel fighters question an African man as they search for Gaddafi army soldiers in Tripoli on August 22, 2011

The report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will be embarrassing for Britain and other governments which supported the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime despite concerns about who would take power in their place.

Many of the detainees are sub-Saharan Africans whom their captors accuse of being Gaddafi mercenaries, based in some cases purely on the fact that they have darker skin. The women and children are being held with them, under the control of male-only guards.

'Some detainees have reportedly been subjected to torture or ill treatment,' the UN said. While political prisoners jailed by Gaddafi have been freed, the militias' prisoners have no access to the courts 'in the absence of a functioning police and judiciary', it added.

Most policemen have failed to return to work in the lawlessness that grips Libya while the court system has been paralysed by a lack of security and absenteeism by judges and administrative staff. While the new government tries to assert control over the chaos, UN officials and foreign diplomats warn that the 'revolutionary brigades' that united to drive out Gaddafi's forces are largely tribal and have kept significant control in their own regions.

The report also said there were 'disturbing' claims of war crimes being committed by both sides as they fought for control of Sirte, the town where Gaddafi was captured and killed last month.

As an example of the atrocities committed by the rebels, the report highlighted the town of Tawerga, whose inhabitants have been accused of siding with Gaddafi during the civil war.

The UN said Tawergas are 'reported to have been targeted in revenge killings, or taken by armed men from their homes, checkpoints and hospitals and some allegedly later abused or executed in detention'.
The UN also warned that a vast arsenal of surface-to-air missiles, known as Manpads, had been accumulated in Libya, further worsening the security situation there.

© Daily Mail, London

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]
SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Other Times 2 Articles
Egypt protesters add pressure on army
NATO kills 28 Pakistan soldiers
NASA in high gear for Mars rover launch
Arab League prepares for Syria sanctions
War games spotlight China-Pakistan hype
Exxon Kurdistan foray tests Iraq's centralist resolve
She beats her breast to world record
The Tigress terrorist
Thanksgiving DOES pay off
Childless men more likely to die of heart disease
Oh no! Another Mayan prediction of an apocalypse in 2012 is found
Where there's muck there's gold
Obama projects Pacific power
New reign of terror in Libya
Saif must have gangrenous fingers amputated or face serious illness: Doctor
A South Asian grand bargain: Cooperation instead of conflict
Mandela home 'for good' in South African village


Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 1996 - 2011 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved | Site best viewed in IE ver 8.0 @ 1024 x 768 resolution