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27 deaths from torture in Libyan detention centres: UN report

Militia-run jails have seen 27 deaths associated with physical abuse in the last 2 years according to a new UN report

Ahram Online, Wednesday 2 Oct 2013
Though Moammar Gadhafi is gone, Libya is still struggling to reinvent itself. Several pro-Gadhafi fighters, now in prison, have been tortured recently (Photo: Reuters)

A UN report has condemned torture in detention centres run by the Libyan militias that toppled Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.

A report released by the UN Support Mission in Libya and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that over the past two years 27 detainees had died in cases with physical abuse cited as a cause.

"Torture is widespread and most frequent immediately after arrest and during the first days of interrogation to extract confessions and other information. Detainees are usually held without access to lawyers and with only occasional, if any, access to families," the report said.

Around 8,000 detainees are being held in jails run by armed militias.

The UN recommends that such detainees be handed over to state authorities.

The Libyan government has tried to combat such incidents by bringing the armed brigades under the affiliation of specific ministries and criminalising torture.

The special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Libya, Tarek Mitri, said that the prevailing situation “runs against the very goals of the 17 February Revolution of making a clean break with the systematic human rights violations of the former regime."

“I welcome the proper transfer of detainees already carried out by some brigades,” he added.

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