United Nations A/hrc/19/68

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Al Zawiyah

  • The Commission interviewed several perceived Qadhafi loyalists from Al Zawiyah, and received information on several others, that appear to have been subject to arbitrary arrest by thuwar.442 A loyalist was arrested at home which was subsequently pillaged.443 The victim was released two months later without charge.

  • Another person who openly declared support for Qadhafi, was arrested at home after Al Zawiyah fell to the thuwar.444 The victim was reportedly alone when a group of five armed men – from the neighbourhood – entered and arrested the victim on accusations of supporting Qadhafi. They had no arrest warrant. They stole money and jewellery. The victim was then detained for five days and interrogated twice by different people. There was no torture or beatings, but the victim was insulted and called Qadhafi’s “rat”, before being released without charge.

      1. Benghazi

  • The Commission met with a number of former Qadhafi soldiers who attempted to return to their homes in eastern Libya at the end of the conflict, but who were arrested by thuwar. One soldier told the Commission that he had been re-assigned from eastern Libya to guard Ein Zara prison and remained there until Tripoli fell in late August. He then returned to his home in Ras Lanuf where he was arrested by thuwar. He told the Commission that upon arrest he was beaten severely and tortured, but that since then his treatment has improved. It is unclear why he continues to be held and he has not seen a lawyer. The Commission met others with similar accounts.445

  • As noted above, the Commission is aware that authorities in Benghazi have begun to try before a military court some 41 members of former Qadhafi security forces. They were reportedly involved in an incident in Benghazi in July 2011.446 Those detainees appear to have access to defence counsel in line with domestic law that foresees counsel only after charges are filed. The case has since been transferred to a civilian court.

  • The Commission expresses its concern, given the instances of torture and maltreatment recorded here and elsewhere in this report, combined with the apparent lack of access to defence counsel during interrogation, that these suspects are being tried in the absence of fundamental judicial guarantees.


    1. The Commission visited Zintan in January 2012 where it met with a number of detainees in both the Zintan local prison and Manara detention facility, under the control of local officials and thuwar. The accounts of these detainees in relation to arbitrary arrest and maltreatment mirror those recorded elsewhere.

    2. One former Qadhafi soldier reported to the Commission that he had been injured early in the fighting and did not return to active duty.447 When Tripoli fell to the thuwar he told the Commission that he travelled to Sabha when he was arrested along with 30 other passengers in a bus. He and several others were sent to Zintan’s Al Barid prison where he was interrogated.448 After two months, the investigation turned up no evidence against him, so he was told he would be released; he was provided with a release document. However, on the day of his release, the administration officer in the prison found the documents of his previous service in the Qadhafi military, therefore the prison authority decided to extend his detention. He said he has not been informed of any charges against him, has not had access to a lawyer, nor has he been able to challenge his continued detention.

    3. Those of the Mashashiya community appear to have been particularly targeted for arrest. One interviewee told the Commission how he was driving with four others when they were arrested by thuwar of Zintan and brought to the former police station where they were subjected to beatings, insults, and electric shocks.449 They were not interrogated. When the five were later transferred to another facility, the interviewee told the Commission that individuals were allowed to enter the facility and maltreat them, including by shooting at them.450

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