Libya mass grave still in doubt

2011-09-27 21:09

Tripoli - Libya's new regime must still confirm that a site discovered in Tripoli this week is a mass grave containing the remains of more than 1 700 prisoners executed in 1996, a National Transitional Council official said on Tuesday.

"I cannot guarantee 100% that there is a mass grave there... But we have found human remains, I have no doubt, I have found them myself," Salim al-Serjani, the deputy head of the NTC's committee for missing persons, told AFP.

NTC officials announced on Sunday that they had found a mass grave at the site containing the bodies of people killed at Tripoli's notorious Abu Salim jail.

Reports have since emerged questioning the veracity of the claim and noting that some of the remains appeared to be from animals.

Serjani said it was too early to be certain what had been buried at the site.

"It needs much more investigation; more time needs to be spent to determine if it is a mass grave," he said.

For years, international rights groups urged Muammar Gaddafi's regime to come clean about the fate of prisoners killed at the jail during a 1996 riot.

The first demonstrations in Libya, which finally ousted Gaddafi, erupted in February in Benghazi, when families of Abu Salim victims called for protests against the arrest of their lawyer.

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