Saturday, June 20, 2015

Human Rights Watch accuses internationally-recognized Libyan government of torture

Human Rights Watch(HRW) said the internationally-recognized Libyan government based in Tobruk, with its allied forces, was responsible for arbitrary detentions, torture and other ill treatment of prisoners.
The Tobruk government or House of Representatives(HoR) is based in eastern Libya. The rights group had access to jails in Benghazi and Bayda. Detainees said they had been forced to confess under torture to crimes they did not commit. They complained of other abuses as well such as lack of medical care and any due process. A common torture practice was to beat detainees on the soles of their feet with plastic pipes but some said they were beaten with electrical cables, chains, or even sticks.
The jails inspected held 450 prisoners and were controlled by the army or interior ministry. All of the detainees said that they were not allowed to talk to lawyers,go before a judge, or even be formally charged. HRW said: "The lack of central government authority has spawned a widespread breakdown in law and order and the virtual collapse of the justice system, resulting in arbitrary detentions." Sarah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director for HRW said: "Government ministers, military commanders, and prison directors should immediately declare a non-tolerance policy against torture and hold anyone who abuses detainees to account," 73 prisoners were interviewed by HRW.
Mistreatment of prisoners is not restricted to the Tobruk government. VICE news has a series of videos, one of which is appended, which show jails in areas controlled by the Tripoli government showing the horrible conditions under which captured immigrants are kept. All sides in Libya are guilty of abuses according to a UN report. There are many jails run by different militias that may not even have any connection to either government.
The UN has been attempting for ages to get the rival governments to agree to a unity government. The UN special envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon hoped to have an agreement before Ramadan but Ramadan began today. There seems to be no news the last few days about the progress of the talks although both parties responded to the last draft. One positive development has been the signing of truce and peace agreements with some factions in the west of Libya who had been in conflict with the Tripoli government. The head of the Tobruk government forces Khalifa Haftar has said that he will not negotiate with the forces of the Tripoli government which he calls terrorists. Even if there were an agreement it seems that it could not be enforced.

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