Thursday, 16 February 2012

Libya: Militias are destabilising the country

According to Amnesty International at least 12 detainees held by militias have died after being tortured for over six months. The report carried out by the human rights group is being published to coincide with the anniversary of the revolution, which toppled former Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi.

Last month, the UN estimated that about 8,000 of Qadhafi loyalists are being held by militia groups. The National Transitional Council (NTC) has been trying to get the militias to disarm, but with little success.

Amnesty International is worried as it believes that some Qadhafi loyalist are committing human rights violations without consequences or intervention by the NTC.

The forthcoming report cites witnesses' statements saying some detainees were repeatedly tortured, beaten with whips, cables, plastic hoses, metal chains and bars, and given electric shocks with live wires and taser-like electroshock weapons. Speaking to AP news agency, Amnesty International's senior crisis response adviser said: “Nobody is holding these militias responsible."

The group also said that in one detention centre in Tripoli investigators found tortured detainees concealed by their interrogators. The group added that among those detained were African migrants and refugees, who were suspected to be "mercenaries" for Qadhafi during the eight month conflict.

The report is based on research conducted in Libya in January and February.

Sources: BBC News, AP, AFP

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

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