Kadhafi loyalists kill detainees: Amnesty

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Amnesty International claimed Friday it had uncovered evidence that forces loyal to embattled Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi had killed "numerous" prisoners at two military camps in Tripoli.

The London-based human rights group said prisoners who managed to escape had described how pro-regime troops lobbed grenades and opened fire on detainees as they tried to flee one camp.

At another, guards shot dead five detainees they were holding in solitary confinement, Amnesty claimed.

The group called on loyalist forces to halt killings of captives and urged both sides to ensure prisoners in their custody were not harmed.

"Even as Kadhafi is cornered, with an ICC (International Criminal Court) warrant active for his arrest on charges of crimes against humanity, his troops continue their flagrant disregard for human life and international humanitarian law," it said.

Amnesty said that on Tuesday, the day rebel forces stormed Kadhafi's Bab al-Azizya compound in Tripoli, about 160 detainees tried to flee the metal hangar where they were being held at a military camp in Khilit al-Ferjan, southwest Tripoli.

Two guards told them the gates were unlocked, but as the detainees made a break for freedom, two other guards opened fire and threw five hand grenades at the group, one eyewitness told Amnesty.

The rights group said it was unclear how many survived, but it knows at least 23 detainees escaped, including four who were treated at a Tripoli hospital.

One survivor, Hussein al-Lafi, a 40-year-old father of five children from Zawiyah who was being held at the camp on suspicion of supporting the rebels, said his three brothers were killed.

"I was standing by the door when I spotted two guards. They immediately opened fire, and I saw one of them holding a hand grenade," he told Amnesty.

"Seconds later, I heard an explosion, followed by four more. I fell on the ground face down; others fell on top of me and I could feel their warm blood.

"There was so much confusion around me, smoke all around, people screaming for help and trying to flee. I saw dozens of bodies, and I was covered in blood and human flesh."

Amnesty said another atrocity took place on Wednesday, at the Qasr Bin Ghashir military camp in Tripoli, where guards loyal to Kadhafi shot dead five detainees they were holding in solitary cells.

After hearing guards opening the five cells and then shots ringing out, detainees in other cells panicked and forced their way out, fearing they were going to be executed.

By the time they escaped, the five guards on duty had fled, Amnesty said.

It said the five victims included a doctor from Misrata who was taken prisoner near the frontline of fighting between rebels and Kadhafi's forces in July and had not been heard of since.

Amnesty claimed earlier that pro-regime forces had raped boys at the Abu Salim prison in Tripoli, and also accused rebels of holding prisoner African migrant workers it suspected of being mercenaries.

An delegation from Amnesty has been in Libya since before the rebels began their assault on Tripoli last weekend.

© 2011 AFP

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