Libyan militias torturing detainees, aid agencies say

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    (Nvonews.com)

    International aid agencies have suspended work in Libya saying they are being asked to treat detainees in between torturing sessions. “Patients were brought to us in the middle of interrogation for medical care, in order to make them fit for more interrogation,” Christopher Stokes, the general director of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), said in a statement on Thursday.

    “This is unacceptable. Our role is to provide medical care to war casualties and sick detainees, not to repeatedly treat the same patients between torture sessions,” said Stokes.

    Libyan security forces as well as lawless militias are torturing detainees suspected of being Gaddafi loyalists, Amnesty International said. “Several detainees have died in the custody of armed militias in and around Tripoli and Misrata in circumstances that suggest torture,” Amnesty said.

    Donatella Rouvera, senior adviser at Amnesty said that it was “horrifying to find that there has been no progress to stop the use of torture”. It seems that the NTC is either unwilling or unable to bring the rebels to heel and investigate the use of torture. “We are not aware of any proper investigations into cases of torture,” she said.

    The newly liberated Libya is increasingly looking as if the centre will not hold. The ruling National Transition Council (NTC) is seems to be losing control of the militias who helped topple the Muammar Gaddafi government, but have now become a security risk.

    In the last few months, armed militias have clashed with the each other, and the NTC has lost control over Bani Walid, the former stronghold of Muammar Gaddafi. The entire issue poses an existential threat to Libya’s new government, as well as an embarrassment for the western powers who helped overthrow Gaddafi.

    The prisons where these detainees are held remains largely outside the jurisdiction of the NTC, even as it makes efforts to bring them under its control. The Libyan Justice Ministry has succeeded in taking over 6 prisons from the Revolutionary Brigades.