Detainees in Libyan prisons are being subjected to torture, leading to many deaths, according to the latest report from Amnesty International released on Thursday.
“After all the promises to get detention centers under control, it is horrifying to find that there has been no progress to stop the use of torture,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International's Senior Crisis Adviser, from Libya, in a statement.
The widespread torture and death in Libya’s prisons could be a sign abuses that were once used under former leader Muammar Gaddafi are still present in the country, The New York Times reported. Gaddafi was captured and killed in October in Libya.
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There are currently 8,000 prisoners being held by various former rebel groups in 60 detention centers across Libya, according to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, the Associated Press reported. The UN is calling on Libya’s transitional government to take control of these makeshift prisons and stop the continued torture and deaths.
“There’s torture, extrajudicial executions, rape of both men and women,” Pillay told the AP. Pillay noted she is mainly concerned about sub-Saharan African detainees since brigades automatically assume them to be fighters for Gaddafi.
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Doctors Without Borders suspended its work in prisons in Misrata on Thursday, saying the use of torture was so high, detainees were only brought to them in order to make them well enough for interrogation again, the AP reported.
“While many detainees have described their experiences of torture to us, some have proved too scared to speak — fearing harsher torture if they speak out — and just showed us their wounds,” Rovera said in a statement.
Amnesty International reported that the patterns of injuries observed by their members were consistent with the use of torture on several detainees, who died while in custody. It was found that detainees were usually tortured right after being held by local armed militias and under interrogation.
Some said they confessed to crimes they hadn’t committed just to end the torture, Amnesty International reported.
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