Militias 'executed' Gaddafi loyalists

2012-10-17 22:26
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cairo - Libyan rebels appear to have "summarily executed" scores of fighters loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, and probably the dictator himself, when they overran his home town a year ago, a human rights group said on Wednesday.

The report by Human Rights Watch on alleged rebel abuses that followed the October 2011 capture of the city of Sirte in the final major battle of the eight-month civil war is one of the most detailed descriptions of what the group says were war crimes committed by the militias that toppled Gadhafi, and which still play a major role in Libyan politics today.

The 50-page report, titled Death of a Dictator: Bloody Vengeance in Sirte, details the last hours of Gaddafi's life on 20 October, 2011, when he tried to flee the besieged city. The longtime leader's convoy was struck by Nato aircraft as it tried to escape and the survivors were attacked by militias from the city of Misrata, who captured and disarmed the dictator and his entourage.

Misrata was subjected to a brutal weeks-long siege by Gaddafi's forces that killed hundreds of residents, and fighters from the city became among the regime's most implacable foes. HRW says it seems the Misratans took revenge against their prisoners in Sirte.

"The evidence suggests that opposition militias summarily executed at least 66 captured members of Gadhafi's convoy in Sirte," said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch.

The New York-based group's report says that new evidence unearthed in its investigation includes a mobile phone video clip taken by militiamen showing a large number of prisoners from Gadhafi's convoy being cursed and abused by opposition fighters.

The remains of least 17 of the detainees in the phone video were later identified in a group of 66 bodies found at Sirte's Mahari hotel, some still with their hands tied behind their back. Human Rights Watch said it used hospital morgue photos to confirm the victims' identities.

The dictator himself was seen alive in a widely-circulated video made public shortly after the battle.

"Video footage shows that Muammar Gaddafi was captured alive but bleeding heavily from a head wound," the HRW report says. But footage showed that he was "severely beaten by opposition forces, stabbed with bayonet in his buttocks, causing more injuries, and bleeding. By the time he is filmed being loaded into an ambulance half-naked, he appears lifeless."

Crossfire

Bouckaert said the group's "findings call into question the assertion by Libyan authorities that Muammar Gaddafi was killed in crossfire and not after his capture."

Gaddafi's son Muatassim was also videotaped alive and in captivity, only to have his body turn up at a morgue in Misrata alongside his father's.

"In case after case we investigated, the individuals had been videotaped alive by the opposition fighters who held them and then found dead hours later," Bouckaert said. "Our strongest evidence for these executions comes from the footage filmed by the opposition forces and the physical evidence at the Mahari hotel where the 66 bodies were found."

Another victim cited by HRW as an example was 29-year-old Ahmed al-Gharyani, a navy recruit from the town of Tawergha. He was seen alive in the phone video as rebels beat him. His body was later found in the hotel and eventually identified by his family.

His home town, Tawergha, was used as a staging ground by Gadhafi's forces to launch attacks on Misrata, but after rebels broke the siege on Misrata and overran Tawergha, the town's residents fled or were driven out by vengeful rebels.

Suleiman al-Fortia, a member of the dissolved National Transitional Council from Misrata, denied that Gaddafi or his loyalists were executed. "We hoped to arrest Gaddafi alive [to try him]. All the killings took place in a crossfire," he said.

But HRW said that "under the laws of war, the killing of captured combatants is a war crime, and Libyan civilian and military authorities have an obligation to investigate war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law."

Liberation Day

The group released its report days before Libya celebrates "liberation day," the anniversary of Sirte's fall on 23 October. Since then, the country's new leaders have heavily depended on former rebel militias to secure cities and protect borders in the absence of a strong national army or other government security forces.

Calls for militias to be brought under the control of the defence or interior ministries have met resistance from some fighters.

Meanwhile, some groups have been implicated in revenge attacks and communal strife, while members of one Islamist militia have been accused of taking part in the attack on the US Consulate in the eastern city Benghazi on 11 September that killed four Americans, including US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.

In the aftermath of Stevens' death, popular resentment surged and thousands took to the streets of Benghazi demanding the dismantlement of the militias.

The government has taken over some militia headquarters and appointed military officers to run the groups, and designated some "outlawed" and others "tolerated."

- AP
Read more on:    muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Secret talks in Lesotho

50 minutes ago
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route

The route of the 2015 Absa Cape Epic has been announced and it promises to be as challenging as ever!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

4 exercise excuses and how to beat them
Watch: Insane road bike skills!
The most extreme journey ever?
Red Bull Lionheart trail run - not for the fainthearted!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to focus too intently on outer appearance and beauty which hides who you really are. You are being challenged...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.