Tag Archives: Libya

Libya: Detainees left to suffocate in crowded metal containers


Pro al-Gaddafi forces left 19 detainees to die of suffocation while locked inside metal containers in the sweltering June heat in north-western Libya, Amnesty International has discovered.

19 people suffocated to death while detained in the two metal containers © Amnesty International
Three survivors described how al-Gaddafi loyalists tortured them and then imprisoned them along with 26 others in two cramped cargo containers on 6 June at a construction site in al-Khums, 120 km east of Tripoli.

The detainees endured temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius and drank their own sweat and urine when the limited water supply ran out. Their captors shouted “rats, shut up”, ignoring their cries for help.

This is the first report of the June incident, because al-Khums was off-limits to independent reporting until it fell under the control of the National Transitional Council (NTC) on 21 August.

“This is obviously appalling and inhumane treatment of a group of people who were mostly civilians,” said Diana Eltahawy, North Africa Researcher at Amnesty International, who is currently in Libya.

It is a war crime for any party to a conflict to kill or torture prisoners.

Some of the survivors described their ordeal to Amnesty International © Amnesty International
Amnesty International’s team have examined the two metal containers used to hold the detainees in al-Khums. Once the doors were locked shut, the containers had no windows and the only ventilation came from dozens of bullet holes along the metal walls.

The larger container held 19 people, 10 of whom survived. Only one person emerged alive from the smaller container, which measured 2 metres by 6 metres and was used to hold 10 people. Some had been held at the site since 20 May.

Read more…

Giving up your child to save her: a tale from Tunisia



Photo (c) Alexis Duclos/UNHCR

CHOUCHA CAMP, Tunisia, March 16 (UNHCR) – With smooth features and a calm way about him, Abdullah Omar, 25, comes across as someone accustomed to hard choices. But the decision to send his one-year-old daughter back to war-ravaged Somalia, because he could not afford to support her, was one of the hardest he and his wife Khadija have ever faced.

That was five months ago. “There is not a night that goes by when I don’t lie awake thinking about my baby and worrying about her,” Khadija told me here at the windswept Choucha transit camp just inside Tunisia.

For the young Somali couple it was the most challenging in a series of ordeals that they have endured in the four years since they fled Somalia – from a 10-day truck journey with people smugglers across the Sahara to serving time in detention and being hounded by racist thugs in Tripoli. Continue reading Giving up your child to save her: a tale from Tunisia

UNHCR fears for the safety of refugees caught in Libya’s violence


Riots

GENEVA, February 22 (UNHCR) – The UN refugee agency said in Geneva on Tuesday it has become “increasingly concerned” about the dangers for civilians inadvertently caught up in the mounting violence in Libya, especially asylum-seekers and refugees.

“We have no access at this time to the refugee community. Over the past months we have been trying to regularize our presence in Libya, and this has constrained our work,” Melissa Fleming, UNHCR’s chief spokesperson, told journalists in Geneva. Continue reading UNHCR fears for the safety of refugees caught in Libya’s violence