Libyan Authorities Guilty of Torture, Mistreatment of Detainees – HRW

Libyan Authorities Guilty of Torture, Mistreatment of Detainees – HRW © AFP 2015/ MAHMUD TURKIA

16:25 17.06.2015(updated 16:54 17.06.2015) Get short URL

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Libya’s internationally-recognized government is responsible for widespread torture and abuses in detention facilities under their control in the east of the country, a rights group said Wednesday.

At present, there are two rival governments in Libya: the internationally-recognized government based in the city of Tobruk, and the self-proclaimed authority in the capital, Tripoli.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) representatives visited three prisons controlled by the Libyan Army, as well as the Justice and Interior Ministries, and individually interviewed 73 of a total 450 inmates held there.

“Many detainees said that interrogators had forced them under torture to ‘confess’ to serious crimes. They described other abuses, including lack of due process, absence of medical care, denial of family visits, lack of notification of families about their detention, and poor conditions,” HRW said in a press release.

All the detainees they spoke to are suspected of belonging to jihadist groups, such as the Islamic State and Ansar Al-Sharia, but no formal charges have been brought against them, the watchdog said.

According to the report, children under the age of 18 were among the detainees.

The rights group urged the Tobruk-based authorities to immediately declare a zero-tolerance policy against torture and hold anyone who abuses detainees accountable. HRW said abusers risked being the subject of international investigations and prosecution should they continue to violate human rights.

Libya has been in turmoil since the 2011 overthrow of the country’s long-standing leader Muammar Gaddafi. The internationally-recognized government is fighting numerous militias, including offshoots of the Islamic State (ISIL) jihadist group.

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