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article imageMedecins Sans Frontieres quits Libya over prisoner torture

By Katerina Nikolas     Jan 27, 2012 in World
Inside Libya's makeshift prisons 8,000 people are detained under the new regime. Amid growing reports of prisoner abuse and torture, Médecins sans Frontières reported doctors have been asked to patch up prisoners between torture sessions.
Outside agencies have confirmed that Libyan fighters,who overthrew the Gaddafi regime, are engaged in torturing their opponents. Although claims of torture and abuse have been levied on many occasions since the downfall of Gaddafi, particularly in relation to black Libyans and prisoners, new accusations show the practice is rampant.
Arab News reported that Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) has pulled its staff out of Libyan prisons in Misrata after medical staff were asked to treat patients mid-way through torture sessions. MSF General Director Christopher Stokes issued a statement saying "Patients were brought to us in the middle of interrogation for medical care, in order to make them fit for more interrogation. This is unacceptable. Our role is to provide medical care to war casualties and sick detainees, not to repeatedly treat the same patients between torture sessions."
The torture is carried out by those who now wield the power, the militia who fought to oust Gaddafi and were given the full backing and support of NATO, which claimed it became involved in order to protect civilians. Nothing is being done though about the civilians now tortured at the hands of those whom NATO supported. Stokes said
''When you patch people up and then they get taken back to be tortured again in the same evening, you become part of the process. We have protested and in some cases they have said they will stop but in other cases they say it happens everywhere, like Abu Ghraib. If anything, the number … has been accelerating.'' (SMH au)
The allegations of torture are not new but the National Transitional Council (NTC) claims it has no control over groups of militia involved. It has had months to address the situation but has failed to take any action, even though such reports leave the new regime in a morally reprehensible position after highlighting abuses conducted under Gaddafi. Their failure to act certainly gives the impression of complicity or ineptitude, with no apparent urgency to deal with situation.
Other outside groups have also raised the issue of abuses, with Amnesty accusing the new regime of murdering Gaddafi loyalists through torture. The Independent cited an Amnesty report that said "it had found that detainees had been suspended in contorted positions, beaten for hours with whips, cables, plastic hoses, metal chains and bars and wooden sticks, and given electric shocks with live wires and Taser-like electro-shock weapons." Figures from the U.N. state there are 8,000 detainees in 60 makeshift prisons across Libya.
More about Medecins sans frontieres, torture Libya, Libya's NTC, prisons Misrata, Amnesty
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