News24

Both sides in Libya 'mistreating prisoners'

2011-08-26 09:39

Cairo - Pro-Gaddafi guards have raped child detainees, and Libyan rebels are abusing children and holding migrant workers as prisoners, Amnesty International charged Thursday, calling on both sides to respect prisoners.

The London-based rights group said it gathered testimony from prisoners and survivors of the conflict in the capital Tripoli, where rebel forces have been clashing with remnants of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in a battle for control of the city.

Amnesty said its delegation uncovered evidence of rape being committed against inmates of Tripoli's notorious Abu Salim Prison while it was under the control of Gaddafi forces.

Two boys told cellmates that they had been raped numerous times by a guard, the Amnesty statement said.

An unnamed detainee said one of the boys returned to his cell almost naked with his clothes torn one night. He told the detainee he had been raped.

Other detainees said they were beaten in pro-Gaddafi prisons with metal wires, sticks and batons were given electric shocks.

One boy, whose name was not released, told Amnesty that he responded to calls by Gaddafi’s regime for volunteer fighters. He said he was handed a Kalashnikov rifle that he did not know how to use and was driven to the western city of Zawiya.

He said he fled the fighting after Nato began bombing a camp that soldiers were using. He said rebels found him unarmed but shot him in the knee at close range.

African nationals

"I fell on the ground, and they continued beating me with the back of their rifles all over my body and face," he said.

Amnesty said that despite repeated promises by the opposition's National Transitional Council that its forces would not repeat the same human rights violations of the former regime, its observers found some 125 people held in an overcrowded cell with barely enough room for detainees to move.

Also, several detainees held in detention centres by the opposition said they were migrant workers, not fighters.

Gaddafi’s regime recruited foreign mercenaries from Chad and other neighbouring African countries to try to put down the uprising.

The African nationals said that they remain in custody only because of their skin colour.

No comment on the Amnesty report was immediately available from either side.

Comments
  • slg - 2011-08-26 09:47

    These actions must be condemned in the strongest possible terms and all necessary evidence gathered for potential action. The rules of war must be applied and enforced.

  • jontheb - 2011-08-26 10:12

    Nothing will happen to the so-called freedom fighters who wouldn't be where they are today if not for Western special forces doing the bulk of the work. The "west" has interfered too much in African affairs over the years for me to believe this was a popular revolt.

      Met - 2011-08-26 10:38

      Yet again, a sad reflection on the Afica/ Arab world, ruled by blood thirsty savages, with the odd exception.

      Ryan Tunney - 2011-08-26 11:13

      @jontheb - yeah but we know you're not the brightest of people so we forgive you.

      Spyker May - 2011-08-26 11:20

      jontheb.., You are missing the point by a million miles (as is persistently the case with Africa); There has been interference in African affairs since the beginning of written history - the West's interference (certainly measured by time-line) has been rather limited. Nobody stops Africa from invading the West - the inconvenient truth is they simply do not possess the cognitive means. Yet, instead of admitting it and starting to work on it - like eg the block of countries loosely known as the 'Eastern Tigers'. They suffered as much as Africa, but instead of spending their energy on narcissistic insecurities, like denial, corruption, etc, they focused their energy on tangible results. Broad lawlessness is a vivid sign of a collapse of the cohesive thread of society, ie a government that serves the people who elected them - like it is the case in South Africa; viz SA does not have a government, it simply has a bunch of fascist narcissistic thugs, hiding behind armed violence (ie the Police and Army) to enrich themselves. In short: The masses of SA are allowing their ‘leaders’ to fool them into their own oppression – then they are dense enough to sheepishly blame a third party that has little/no liability (eg the West and alike). We forget that the lawlessness we see in Libya - that is in the midst of a full civil war, it regarded as everyday-life occurrences in SA, in fact so much of it do not even get to the papers (less the front pages). cont. below..,

      Spyker May - 2011-08-26 11:20

      We perpetually fail to put things into perspective - eg why does Germany not fall into the same state of civil-war/lawlessness as Libya (etc), or why does it not happen in the USA, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Austria, etc..?

      slg - 2011-08-26 16:25

      Tunisia? Egypt? Syria?

  • panafricanis - 2011-08-26 10:13

    Now they sound even more abusive that Gaddafi himself, colonisation has achieved the greatest injustice....and its now coming with another form....

      slg - 2011-08-26 16:27

      A new Libya is being formed, with a Bill of Rights, independent judiciary, and progressive constitution. It'll be very different.

  • Daemos1 - 2011-08-26 10:14

    Humans are such filthy animals, our purest form of exprression is always violence

      Pieter van der Merwe - 2011-08-26 11:43

      Our purest form of expression is love. Don't put yourself or others down because evil exist. Darkness cannot overcome the light, not even the smallest of lights.

      Daemos1 - 2011-08-26 12:00

      No, this 'love' you talk about is subjective, blurry and ambiguous. life is nature, not some fantasy we've created

      slg - 2011-08-26 16:27

      Well-said Pieter.

  • Virginia - 2011-08-26 10:54

    People do not take sides , this is a Muslim war, and the West must not say anything as they are just as bad when it comes to torturing people. That is why the west must stay out of these skirmishes.These people live by their religion, which they feel is the correct way. Let their Humanrights organization see to their problems. Close their borders into the rest of the world.They like this country voted their leader into being, thinking that he was the best for them.

      Ryan Tunney - 2011-08-26 11:55

      I agree...let them swim on their own!!

      slg - 2011-08-26 16:29

      It's not a religious war at all. It's a war of liberation that wouldn't have been a war at all had Gadhafi been more sensible and stepped down, similar to Bin Ali and Mubarak.

      JWM24 - 2011-08-26 17:58

      When did religion become the focus/cause/motive for this war?

  • Ryan Tunney - 2011-08-26 11:04

    Nothing wrong with the rebels executing foreign mercenries that have come to assist Gaddafi. The mercenries that have come from foreign African countries to assist this criminal should be executed by default. Don't know why they're coming to Gaddafi's aid - the Libyan people's affairs are none of their business. No one forced them to come there.

      slg - 2011-08-26 16:31

      It's very wrong. It's against the rules of war and the Geneva Convention. Prisoners of war are expected to be treated humanely.

      JWM24 - 2011-08-26 17:54

      Not sure that the rules of war apply to, or are applied by Mercenaries

      slg - 2011-08-26 23:03

      I'm not sure either. I think they would be imposed on them if captured.

  • Pieter van der Merwe - 2011-08-26 11:39

    One should not have any illusions about the nature of war. Men are executed and women and children suffer the most. Men are mad I say. War is waged by beurocrats and stakeholders who are far removed from the front lines. They move battalions around on large maps using pointing devices. War happens for various reasons. What I would like to say is that no government can claim to be the 'true' legitimate government. It's just 'the government of the day'. Sentiments and 'truth' shift with time. Can the ANC truly bemoan their martyrs because the Nats killed the terrorists? Yes, they killed for the sake of 'freedom'. Did they have the moral high ground? Yes, they once did. The ANC has since showed they are a failure organisation who suffer from a lack of ID. Once Gaddaffi had a 'legitimate' government supported by the people. Now, lo and behold, the people want a regime change. Every government will fight to keep the status quo. This makes what happened in SA under white rule incredibly significant and marvellous. Whites gave up their power to Africans, just like that! (yes, sanctions also played a part, but Apartheid could have continued if it wasn't for good average white people who had a sense for justice and fairness who wanted a refferendum on change). This should say something to all the hypocritical, entitled and arrogant/racist Africans who cling to positions of power for the sake of power and not public service. Africa is a lost cause I'm afraid unless The Word dawns...

  • Pieter van der Merwe - 2011-08-26 11:41

    One should not have any illusions about the nature of war. Men are executed and women and children suffer the most. Men are mad I say. War is waged by beurocrats and stakeholders who are far removed from the front lines. They move battalions around on large maps using pointing devices. War happens for various reasons. What I would like to say is that no government can claim to be the 'true' legitimate government. It's just 'the government of the day'. Sentiments and 'truth' shift with time. Can the ANC truly bemoan their martyrs because the Nats killed the terrorists? Yes, they killed for the sake of 'freedom'. Did they have the moral high ground? Yes, they once did. The ANC has since showed they are a failure organisation who suffer from a lack of ID. Once Gaddaffi had a 'legitimate' government supported by the people. Now, lo and behold, the people want a regime change. Every government will fight to keep the status quo. This makes what happened in SA under white rule incredibly significant and marvellous. Whites gave up their power to Africans, just like that! (yes, sanctions also played a part, but Apartheid could have continued if it wasn't for good average white people who had a sense for justice and fairness who wanted a refferendum on change). This should say something to all the hypocritical, entitled and arrogant/racist Africans who cling to positions of power for the sake of power and not public service. Africa is a lost cause I'm afraid unless The Word dawns...

      Pieter van der Merwe - 2011-08-26 11:51

      Hier is 'n klip in die bos: I would rather have women do politics instead of men. Men are all ego and 'outcome' based. Women have an intuitive sense/empathy to solve conflict between people. Women are generally aimed towards peace (the well functioning family). Men should run business and invent things while women organise, integrate and network society. The patriarchal idea so dearly held in the Middle East are beginning to erode. Here the West and Eastern religions can make a contribution. Our idea of mankind and gender roles are changing. Technology has made the wild West equal, hasn't it Mr Colt?

  • letsee - 2011-08-26 12:06

    Not surprising that both sides have the same unacceptable attutudes for they are after all the same minds.

  • chez - 2011-08-26 12:13

    Oh wonderful; these rebels are the future leaders of Libya. Reminds me of a quote I once read. "Where are we going and why are we in this handbasket"

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