Libyan prisoners subjected to 'appalling abuses': UN

Libyan prisoners subjected to 'appalling abuses': UN
A new UN report released on Tuesday said armed groups in Libya have killed and tortured thousands of prisoners.
2 min read
10 April, 2018
Mural depicting a torture scene in Tripoli's Abu Slim jail [Getty]

A new UN report on Tuesday said armed groups in Libya are killing and torturing detainees in prisons, with thousands of civilians being unlawfully held.

The report also charged succesive governments in Tripoli for allowing the groups to arrest a wide spectrum of opponents including journalists, activists and politicians. 

"As a result, armed groups' power has grown unchecked and they have remained free of effective government oversight," the UN human rights office said in the report, according to Reuters.

"Men, women and children across Libya are arbitrarily detained or unlawfully deprived of their liberty based on their tribal or family links and perceived political affiliations," it added.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights denonunced the "appalling abuses" and "sheer horror".

The UN's Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein urged the armed groups to release those currently held in custody without charge and to prosecute rights violations including torture, kidnappings and executions.

Contested elections in 2014 led Libya to be split between rival factions. Ongoing armed conflict has led to economic collapse, paving the way for militant groups to thrive in the country. 

"Torture and ill-treatment are systematic in detention facilities across Libya, particularly in the initial period of detention and during interrogations," the UN said.

The report said beatings, floggings and electric shocks were all common, basing its findings on prison visits, legal records and photographic evidence. 

Corpses of people snatched by armed groups have been found scattered around Benghazi and other parts of the country, the report also said. 

Agencies contributed to this report. 

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