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Murder and torture by 'both sides' in Libya, says Amnesty report

MURDER and torture were carried out routinely by both sides in the recent uprisings in Libya, a new report by Amnesty International has found.

Although it has long been known that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime committed acts of torture and murder against it's opponents, it has now emerged that the rebels have also arbitrarily detained, abducted, tortured and killed those suspected of being Gaddafi loyalists.

The report indicates that while the atrocities by the rebels may have been on a smaller scale than those committed by the regime, they have in many instances been just as brutal.

From the first days of the uprising protesters and other opponents of the regime murdered captured soldiers. "Some were beaten to death, at least three were hanged, and others were shot dead after they had been captured or had surrendered," the report says.

The body of a former member of Libya's internal security service and father of six, Ibrahim Khalifa al-Surmani, was found in a brutalised state just outside Benghazi on May 10th.

"He had been shot in the head. His hands and feet were bound and a scarf was tightly tied around his neck. He was missing a piece of flesh from his right calf and marks on his trousers indicated that he had been kneeling. A bloodstained note bearing his name was found by the body; it read: '... a dog among Gaddafi's dogs has been eliminated'."

The report says that unlawful killings are routinely carried out by organised anti-Gaddafi groups who operate 'freely, openly and with impunity'.

Family members of those targeted are said to be terrified to voice their concerns as they fear that they in turn might be attacked by these groups.

Amnesty International also detail the horrific acts committed by Gaddafi's supporters including extra-judicial killing and the use of heavy weapons on civilian buildings.

The report also details how thousands of civilians were captured by troops, many from their homes or while they walked down the street. Some of those abducted have been as young as 12 years old.

The report is based on Amnesty's survey of Libya between the 26th of February and the 28th of May 2011.