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Aid agency saw 'mass torture' in Libyan city

Medecins Sans Frontieres pulled its staff out of detention facilities in a Libyan city yesterday after witnessing more than 100 cases of torture by the revolutionaries who overthrew Colonel Muammar Gadaffi.

The aid group said it was withdrawing staff from Misurata because it was effectively keeping prisoners alive so authorities could continue to torture them.

Separately, Amnesty International reported that up to a dozen people had died after being tortured at the hands of the new National Military Security agency.

Senior UN figures expressed concern over the government's failure to exert control over militias, which are accused of rampant abuse among the estimated 8,500 prisoners in arbitrary detention.

Christopher Stokes, the general director of MSF, said the scale of torture in two detention centres in Misurata was accelerating. Some of the 115 inmates that MSF staff treated after torture were beaten so badly they could not stand and suffered kidney failure.

Hundreds of prisoners, many of them black Africans, also told the organisation they had been victims of torture.

Libya's defence minister dismissed the Amnesty allegations as unsubstantiated.

Dave Hartwell, an analyst with IHS Global Insight, said the Western allies that backed the uprising had failed to provide enough support for the fledgling government. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent