Torture and Abuse in Libya

Graphic by Alex: source
Stephen Lendman, Contributing Writer
Activist Post 

NATO’s alleged “responsibility to protect” was subterfuge. Months of terror bombings left Libya a charnel house.

Africa’s most developed country was ravaged. Tens of thousands were killed, multiples more injured, and millions left on their own to sink or swim.

When is war not war? It’s when mass killing and destruction are called the right thing. It’s also when terrorizing and traumatizing an entire population goes unaddressed.

Add horrific torture to other crimes and abuses, according to Amnesty International (AI), Doctors Without Borders, and Human Rights Watch (HRW).

In its World Report 2012: Libya, HRW said that post-Gaddafi prison conditions are “sub-standard, with overcrowding, inadequate food and water, and consistent reports about abuse, including beatings (and) use of electric shock.”

Investigator Sidney Kwiram said HRW documented “ongoing torture” used “to force confessions or for punishment.”

HRW left unaddressed that most held are pro-Gaddafi political prisoners. Doing so is lawless repression. It’s also more proof of NATO and its puppet NTC regime’s contempt for human rights.

On January 26, AI headlined, “Libya: Deaths of detainees amid widespread torture,” saying:

Libyan detainees are tortured and abused. As a result, some died. Victims are pro-Gaddafi loyalists. AI met detainees “in and around Tripoli, Misrata and Gheryan.”

Torture marks were visible, including “open wounds on the head, limbs, back and other parts of the body.”

It’s inflicted “by officially recognized military and security entities as well as a multitude of armed militias operating outside any legal framework.”

AI knows international law prohibits torture and abuse committed by any authority at all times, under all conditions with no allowed exceptions. Nonetheless, it didn’t explain.

AI’s Donatell Rovera called it “horrifying to find that there has been no progress to stop the use of torture. We are not aware of any proper investigations into (these cases), and neither the survivors or relatives of those who have died in detention have had any recourse to justice or redress for what they have suffered.”

“While many detainees have described their experiences of torture to us, some have proved too scared to speak – fearing harsher torture” by doing so. Instead, they just showed their wounds.

They came from being “suspended in contorted positions, beaten for hours with whips, cables, plastic hoses, metal chains and bars and wooden sticks, and given electric shocks with live wires and Taser-like electro-shock weapons.”

Injuries AI saw confirmed detainee testimonies. So did medical reports. Suspected pro-Gaddafi loyalists and Black African foreign workers are affected. NTC authorities and armed militias are responsible.

Victims confess to stop pain. They have no legal representation. One Misrata detainee told AI:

This morning they took me for interrogation upstairs. Five men in plain clothes took turns beating and whipping me….They suspended me from the top of the door by my wrists for about an hour and kept beating me. They also kicked me.

Another said he was beaten on wounds sustained weeks earlier and added:

Yesterday they beat me with electric cables while my hands were cuffed behind my back and my feet were bound together. They threatened to send me back to the militia (that) captured me, who would kill me.

Others died from torture-inflicted injuries. Deep bruises and open wounds confirmed it.

Despite AI’s requests for months, NTC authorities “failed to conduct effective investigations into cases of torture and suspicious deaths in custody.”

Moreover, the “police and judiciary remain dysfunctional across the country.” AI’s Donatella Rovera said there’s been “a complete failure on the part of those in power to take concrete steps to end torture and other ill-treatment of detainees and to hold those accountable responsible for such crimes.”

On January 26, a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) press release headlined, “Libya: Detainees Tortured and Denied Medical Care,” saying:

MSF confirmed torture and abuse against Misrata detainees. They’re also denied “urgent medical care.” As a result, MSF suspended operations.

Since August 2011, they treated Misrata’s war-wounded detainees. “Since then, (they observed) injuries caused by torture during interrogation sessions.” They treated 115 cases. They informed Misrata authorities. “Since January, several of the patients returned to interrogation centers were again tortured.”

“Some officials (tried) to exploit and obstruct MSF’s medical work,” according to general director Christopher Stokes.

Patients were brought to us in the middle of the interrogation for medical care, in order to make them 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.

Responsibility belongs to Libya’s National Army Security Service. It conducts interrogations. They prevented MSF from treating detainees requiring “urgent and specialized” hospitalization care.

Instead they were interrogated again and tortured. On January 9, MSF addressed the Misrata Military Council, the Misrata Security Committee, the National Army Security Service, and the Misrata Local Civil Council “demanding an immediate stop to any form of ill treatment of detainees.”

Nothing was done, said Stokes. Torture continues. In response, MSF suspended operations, but continues providing mental health services. It’s also keep helping Black African workers, refugees, and those internally displaced around Tripoli.

MSF’s performed medical services in Libya since February 2011. Under NATO/NTC-imposed conditions, it’s no longer able to treat torture and war-wounded victims by providing emergency care, surgeries, and orthopedic follow-up treatment.

A Final Comment

Libya was developed and peaceful until NATO arrived on cruise missiles, bombs, shells, other munitions, depleted and enriched uranium, other terror weapons, fifth column infiltrators, media liars, and other rogue tactics.

It’s another imperial trophy to colonize, plunder and exploit. State-sponsored terror continues. Human misery is incalculable.

Libyans wanting to live free are vulnerable. Keep their freedom flame alive no matter how NATO monsters try to destroy it.

We’re all Libyans now! Their struggle is ours! It better be because our turn may be next!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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