UNSMIL calls on Libyan Government to hold to account those behind deaths, torture of detainees

2 May 2012

UNSMIL calls on Libyan Government to hold to account those behind deaths, torture of detainees

Tripoli 1 May 2012 - The United Nations Support Mission In Libya (UNSMIL) has raised concerns with the Libyan authorities, at the highest level, regarding the recent deaths of three individuals at the Zaroug detention center in Misrata, which is controlled by the Supreme Security Committee under the authority of the Ministry of Interior.

The three detainees died on 13 April 2012, and UNSMIL believes that their deaths may have resulted from torture. UNSMIL also has knowledge of at least seven cases of persons who have been tortured at the same facility. There have also been allegations of torture and ill-treatment of detainees held by armed brigades in detention centers, particularly in Tripoli, Zawiya and Zintan, as well as in Misrata.

UNSMIL is also concerned about the reported existence of some secret detention facilities run by brigades, where detainees are at particular risk of torture.

UNSMIL urges the Government to take immediate and concrete measures to address the situation, including to conduct a thorough investigation in order to hold to account those responsible, and to establish an effective internal inspection mechanism covering all places where persons are deprived of their liberty.

UNSMIL welcomes the statement by the Supreme Security Committee of Misrata condemning these acts and committing support to investigations and appropriate legal action. Recognizing the difficulties the Libyan Government faces in transferring responsibility for detainees to the proper state authorities,

UNSMIL acknowledges that progress, albeit slow, has been made in this regard.

Nevertheless, with a view to the absolute prohibition of torture under international law, UNSMIL calls upon the Government to make addressing these allegations and practices a top priority in pursuit of a new culture of respect for human rights and the rule of law in post-revolution Libya.