Detainees tortured in Libya: rights groups

19th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Three human rights groups on Friday charged that torture was used in Libya and impunity was granted to perpetrators, citing for instance the case of an engineer who died shortly after his detention.

Incarcerated in 2006, 30-year-old Ismail Al Khazmi died from his injuries while in detention, according to the the groups Alkarama, Trial and Human Rights Watch.

An investigation into his death was opened, they said but this was blocked by General Saleh Ragab, Libya's public security secretary.

"This case illustrates that torture is used until death ensues, and there is a mechanism of institutionalised impunity," said Philip Grant, Trial spokesman, who specialises in tracking perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Grant said he had obtained several official documents, including an autopsy report, showing that torture was committed and that the authorities blocked an inquiry.

"Al Khazmi's case highlights the fact that security agents are still above the law in Libya," said Rachid Mesli, legal director of Alkarama.

"In Libya, judiciary power is under the control of the executive," noted Grant.

In 2008, the non-governmental organisations submitted the case of this engineer to the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva, which is due to publish its conclusions and recommendations in 2011.

The NGOs also called on UN experts to push Libya for more information on this case.

"We call on the UN special procedures to urgently take up the matter with the Libyan government and insist on their obligations to bring the culprits to justice," said Grant.

© 2010 AFP

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