Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Thursday released a report [text] accusing the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) [official website] in Libya of allowing the abuse and torture of supporters of former leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive] by unofficial militias. In the report, AI alleges that supporters of Gaddafi are being unlawfully detained, tortured and even killed by militias that the NTC has failed to control. The report was compiled by AI representatives who traveled to Libya in January and February and visited 11 facilities used to detain suspected Gaddafi loyalists. AI reported [press release] that 12 detainees have been killed while in the custody of these militias and described some of the abuse:
Many detainees told Amnesty International that they had been beaten, including with sticks, whips and rifle butts. Several said they suffered other forms of torture, including electric shocks, burns, and threats of rape or death. Forensic examinations of some of those who died in detention provide further evidence that such methods are still being used.The report recommends that the NTC put an immediate end to unlawful detentions and ensure that any arrests are carried out by lawful police forces, ensure humane treatment of detainees and investigate the reported deaths of prisoners.
Allegations of war crimes and human rights violations have been widespread during the Libya conflict [JURIST backgrounder]. In October of last year, AI alleged that Libyan forces arrested nearly 2,500 people who face ongoing torture and detainment [JURIST report] without formal charges. In September, the NTC vowed to investigate allegations of human rights abuses after AI published a report [JURIST report] alleging that both sides of the Libya conflict are responsible for human rights abuses and warning the NTC to act quickly to investigate these allegations. That same month, the NTC assured world leaders that Libya will be a society of tolerance and respect [JURIST report] for the rule of law. During a meeting [BBC report] in Paris chaired by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, NTC leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil [BBC profiles] vowed to administer elections and draft a new constitution for Libya within 18 months.