Rebels holding 7,000 prisoners in Libya
Published 25/11/2011 | 05:00
Thousands of people, including women and children, are being illegally detained by rebel militias in Libya, according to a report by the secretary general of the United Nations, writes Kim Sengpta.
Many of the prisoners are suffering torture and mistreatment while being held in private jails outside the control of the new government.
Ban Ki-moon's report states that while political prisoners being held by the Gaddafi regime have been released, their places have been taken by up to 7,000 new "enemies of the state", who have "disappeared" in a dysfunctional system with no recourse to the law.
And the criticisms go wider, painting a grim picture of a lawless state which has a long way to go if it is to achieve stability: armed gangs engaged in internecine warfare for control of the streets, a cowed and impotent police force, and the racist mistreatment -- and lynching -- of black Africans accused of complicity with the regime.
There was evidence, says the report by Mr Ban, that both sides committed acts amounting to war crimes in the bitter battle for Gaddafi's home town, Sirte. (© Independent News Service)