The Commission viewed video footage reportedly from the cellphone of a captured or killed Qadhafi soldier.494 The clip shows the Qadhafi forces maltreating an injured thuwar who was specifically identified by a thuwar commander in Nalut. The injured appears to have two broken legs and seems to be falling in and out of consciousness. The Qadhafi forces are shown interrogating the man, trying to get him to divulge information about thuwar operations. One soldier is heard to say, “kill him”, while another says, “no, let’s first get what information he has.” Another soldier starts to give the thuwar some water, but he is rebuffed by the interrogator who says clearly, “put nafta (vehicle fuel) in his mouth.” The clip ends there and a second clip shows the same thuwar being tossed into the back of a military truck where his dead colleague already lay. While the footage was provided by thuwar commanders, the Commission has no reason to doubt its authenticity.
(Sexual violence as torture
Rape and other types of sexual violence were reportedly inflicted upon inmates in detention by the Qadhafi forces. The Commission interviewed several former detainees, both males and females, who described sexual acts perpetrated against them as a means to extract information, to humiliate them, or (apparently) to punish them for the acts of the victim’s family members.495
The Commission met a young man who had participated in anti-government demonstrations in Tajoura, a Tripoli suburb, in early March 2011.496 He related that the Popular Guard (Al-Haras Al-Sha’abi) attacked the demonstrators using sticks and tears gas and arrested the interviewee along with nine others. The interviewee told the Commission how Qadhafi forces blindfolded them and transported each in a separate car to Abu Salim prison. His captors reportedly put him in an interrogation room and they started to beat him. A short time later, two older men entered the room. They tied his hands and legs, laid him down, insulting him and then they raped him. Afterwards they burned his genitals using a cigarette lighter and beat him further. They then began interrogating him. At midnight they transferred him to Ein Zara prison. The next morning he said he could not move due to his physical and psychological condition. He was admitted to the hospital in Mitiga prison where they gave him medical treatment for his burns. He was returned to his cell and remained in Ein Zara prison until the thuwar liberated Tripoli in August 2011, releasing the prisoners.
The Commission gathered testimony from eight other former detainees held in Abu Salim prison by Qadhafi forces, two of whom alleged sexual violence.497 Three detainees alleged sexual violence while being held in Ein Zara prison.498 Other allegations of sexual violence apparently took place during the interrogations in the offices of the local security agencies, military bases, unofficial camps and in other locations that the victims could not recognize. The incidents included penetration with various objects, electrical shocks on or inside the genitalia,499 The victims recounted how the violence was used if they refused to answer questions or gave the “wrong” answer. The Commission has set out the reports of rape and other forms of sexual violence in additional detail in the Sexual Violence section of this report (see chap. III, sect. F).
(g) Conditions of detention
The Commission was unable to make an inspection of detention centres during the early part of the second phase of its work. However, in interviewing detainees held during that period, the Commission recorded accounts that, if verified, would amount to breaches of the minimum standards set out above.
As mentioned, detainees interviewed by the Commission were held in shipping containers and warehouses in deplorable conditions. Massive overcrowding, poor ventilitation, inadequate or non-existent hygiene facilities, intermittent provision of food and insufficient water were the norm.
As another example, one detainee told the Commission that after spending several nights in what was a shipping container in Abu Salim, he and his co-detainees were transferred to Ein Zara prison with their eyes covered and their hands tied behind their backs.500 The interviewee related how, upon arrival, he was put in small room (2 x 2 meters) with two other detainees, but with no bed. They slept on the floor and had one meal per day which was a piece of bread and cheese. The door of the room did not open for three months. There was a small window at the top of the door and the guards allegedly threw the food in from it. There was a water pipe for the toilet inside the room and detainees had to drink from it.
Thuwar In its first report the Commission found that number of persons experienced torture and other forms of ill-treatment at the hands of the thuwar in Benghazi.501 In its missions to Libya in the second phase of its work, the Commission visited more than 20 detention facilities. The centres fell into three broad categories: ‘official’ centres operated under the aegis of the interim Government; ‘unofficial’ ones whose existence is acknowledged at the local level by individual thuwar brigades, local councils - including security committees or military councils502; and finally, a number of “unacknowledged” detention sites. It was not possible for the Commission to visit the latter and the statistics, evidence and analysis herein are not reflective of them. Nevertheless in meetings with authorities, the Commission expressed its concern about the safety of any detainees being held in unmonitored facilities outside the framework of the law.503
The Commission interviewed 84 current and several other more former detainees of the official and the unofficial facilities in Misrata (Dafniya, Sakit, Wehda, and Amn Al-Jaysh al-Watani), Tripoli (Ein Zara, Jdeida, Mitiga, Njila, Maftouh), Al Zawiyah (Judayem, Al-Sila, Nissa), Tajoura (Hufra), Zintan (Manara and Local), and Benghazi (Rahaba). In addition to Libyans of various ethnic and tribal backgrounds, among the detained interviewees were Chadians, Mauritanians, Serbians, and Sudanese. In many of the detention site visits, the Commission encountered compelling evidence of torture and ill-treatment.