News / Africa

UN: Torture Rife in Libya's Jails Two Years After Gadhafi

The Ain Zara prison in Tripoli, Libya, Feb. 2, 2012.
The Ain Zara prison in Tripoli, Libya, Feb. 2, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Torture and brutality are rife in Libyan prisons two years after the overthrow of leader Moammer Gadhafi in a revolution launched under the banner of freedom and justice, a U.N. report said on Tuesday.
 
Around 8,000 prisoners are held without trial in government jails on suspicion of having fought for Gadhafi, while countless others are detained by freelance militias out of sight and in primitive conditions, it added.
 
No one was immediately available for comment from the Libyan government.
 
“Torture and ill-treatment in Libya is an on-going and widespread concern in many detention centers,” said the report from the U.N.'s top human rights office (UNHCHR) and the world body's Support Mission (UNSMIL) in the country.
 
UNSMIL had recorded 27 cases of death in detention, almost certainly caused by torture, since Gadhafi was captured and killed, it said. Eleven of these were this year and all in prisons controlled by militias, it added.
 
The report noted the Libyan government had declared its commitment to ending torture and to ensuring the proper working  of the country's criminal justice system, and praised its passage of a law making torture a criminal offense.
 
But both U.N. bodies feared that unless firm action was taken “there is a danger that torture will become institutionalized within the new Libya”.
 
Many arrests were arbitrary, motivated by personal or tribal score-settling, the report said.
 
The paper detailed cases of men, some hauled off the street on the way to work or in their homes without explanation by militiamen, and how they were beaten and raped with bottles or large bullets and left without food in filthy jails.
 
In government-controlled jails run by trained police or prison officers, which U.N. staff had been able to visit, conditions and the treatment of detainees was better than in those operated by the militias - to which they had had little access.
 
In the latter, it said, torture was most frequent immediately upon arrest, and then - as in Gadhafi's time - detainees were held without access to lawyers and with only sporadic visits by their families.
 
The best-known prisoner held by Libya's militias is Gadhafi's son and one-time political heir Saif al-Islam. His captors, a tribal group near Zintan in south-western Libya, have refused government demands to deliver him to a jail in Tripoli.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid