Libya to take control of makeshift prisons

Libya to take control of makeshift prisons

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[JURIST] In response to international criticism the Libya Ministry of Justice announced on Sunday that it will be commandeering “makeshift prisons” around the country to prevent further prisoner torture. Deputy Minister Khalifa Ashour acknowledged that primarily loyalists to former dictator Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive] have been tortured in unregulated prisons [AP report]. Other detainees are citizens under arrest for murder or drug and alcohol possession. Ashour also stated that the Ministry has taken control of two prisons already, one in Tripoli and one in Misrata. Earlier this week, both Amnesty International (AI) and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [JURIST reports] criticized the Libyan government for the interim prisons that were created during last year’s revolution in Libya [JURIST backgrounder].

Allegations of war crimes and human rights violations have been widespread in the aftermath of the Libyan conflict. Earlier this month Middle East rights groups alleged human rights violations [JURIST report] and that all parties involved, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) [official website], committed acts ranging from use of excessive force against protesters to cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners during detention. In September, the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) [official website] vowed to investigate allegations of human rights 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. In August, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) [advocacy website] reported [text, PDF] Libyan troops used children as human shields [JURIST report] to deter attacks by NATO. That same month, the Libyan Prime Minister Al Baghdad Ali Al-Mahmoudi requested that the UN create a “high-level commission” to investigate alleged human rights abuses [JURIST report] by NATO.