Libya: UN alarmed over failure to stop torture of detainees

Rebel fighters search for Gaddafi loyalists in Tripoli back in August last year.

Medicins Sans Frontieres, the medical charity, is suspending operations in Libyan detention centres because they were being asked to make torture victims fit for further interrogation.

The UN has expressed its alarm over the failure of the Libyan government [the National Transitional Council government set up by the Libyan “rebels” — Ed.]to disarm militias and stop widespread torture of the thousands of people held in arbitrary detention.

The warning that human rights abuses were rampant in Libya came as Medicins San Frontieres, the medical charity, said it was suspending its operations in detention centres in the city of Misurata after encountering scores of torture victims.

Ian Martin, the UN envoy for Libya, said that the new Libyan authorities were failing to bring armed factions under control. As a result the law of gun dominated […]. Mr Martin blame militias for fatal clashes around the country. [….]

He warned that the clashes could escalate.

The UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said she had serious concerns over the fate of the 8,500 prisoners held in around 60 centres by [Libyan rebel forces]. “The majority of detainees are accused of being Gaddafi loyalists and include a large number of sub-saharan, African nationals,” she said. “The lack of oversight by the central authority creates an environment conducive to torture and ill treatment.

The perils facing Libyan prisoners were exposed by MSF which said its doctors had treated 115 prisoners that they believed had been tortured in just one city.

The body said it would not collude with the abusive regime in the city.

“Some officials have sought to exploit and obstruct MSF’s medical work,” says MSF General Director Christopher Stokes. “Patients were brought to us for medical care between interrogation sessions, so that they would be fit for further interrogation. This is unacceptable. Our role is to provide medical care to war casualties and sick detainees, not to repeatedly treat the same patients between torture sessions.”

“My staff have received alarming reports that this is happening in places of detention they have visited.”

Miss Pillay also reviewed the investigations of the Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry which is investigating allegations of war crime by the Nato-led alliance that backed the uprising against Gaddafi.



Categories: Colonialism, Imperialism, Imperialist War, International, Libya

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