SEVERAL suspected diehard supporters of slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi have been subjected to torture and some have even died in detention centres run by armed militias, human rights groups said yesterday.
“Several detainees have died after being subjected to torture in Libya in recent weeks and months amid widespread torture and ill-treatment of suspected pro-Gaddafi fighters and loyalists,” Amnesty International said.
The London-based watchdog said its delegates had met detainees held in Tripoli, Misratah and smaller towns such as Ghariyan who showed visible signs of torture inflicted in recent days and weeks.
“The torture is being carried out by officially recognised military and security entities, as well by a multitude of armed militias operating outside any legal framework,” Amnesty said.
In a separate statement, Doctors Without Borders said it had suspended its work in Misratah, Libya’s third-largest city, which withstood a devastating siege by Gaddafi’s forces during last year’s uprising. “Detainees in the Libyan city of Misratah are being tortured and denied urgent medical care, leading the international medical humanitarian organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres to suspend its operations in detention centres in Misratah,” the group said.
Its doctors were increasingly confronted with patients who suffered injuries caused by torture during questioning.
“The interrogations were held outside the detention centres,” it said.
The concerns raised by the two groups came hours after top UN officials expressed similar fears about Libyan “revolutionary brigades”, accusing them of being behind a surge in violence and holding thousands of people in secret detention centres.