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Body of rebel leader exhumed and displayed in Benghazi Libya

According to the Libya Herald there is a widely shared social media video showing the decomposing body of Makhzoum strapped to the front of a car. It was kicked and then paraded by LNA fighters. They also shoot guns in the air in celebration. The LNA just recently captured a 12-building apartment complex from Islamist opponents as shown on the appended video. Article 15 of the 1949 first Geneva Convention says that parties to a conflict must prevent dead bodies from being despoiled. The LNCHR claimed the treatment of Makhzoum’s body was a “despicable and heinous crime incompatible with human values”. Makhzoum was the former leader of the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC). He had been killed last week in the Ganfouda area which has just recently been completely taken by the Libyan National Army (LNA). Other photos show dead BRSC fighters thrown on top of each other and LNA fighters pose with the bodies taking “selfies”. LNA spokesperson Ahmed Mismari said that a mass grave of Islamist militants had been found yesterday that included the body of Makhzoum and also that of several Ansar al-Sharia commanders. Many on social media found the footage disgusting and compared the behavior to that of the Islamic State that showed beheadings on line. During the time of Qaddafi images of hanged and mutilated corpses were often displayed. The LNCHR also called for an immediate investigation.

The Libya Observer, which is anti-Haftar, also covered the event. It notes that this was not the first desecration of bodies by Haftar in which members of the Sahawat units set fire to the bodies of dead BRSC fighters while shouting insults. The bodies were apparently taken out of the Benghazi Medical Centre and burned in the garden of the center while people watched.

In another incident a radical Salafist group that fought alongside Haftar’s Libyan National Army showed a video in which a rival fighter was executed in Benghazi. The Tariq Ben Ziyad Fighting Brigade released the video of the execution of Randa Al-Abad a day after his arrest in the city of Ajdabiya. He was accused of belonging to the Islamic State (IS). Al-Abad was killed by a machine gun blast at close range.

The Observer reports that Makhzoum had been buried 5 days ago on March 14 in the Ganfouda area where BRSC controlled the 12 apartment complex. The Observer claims that the BRSC broke through the siege by Haftar’s forces and managed to escape but 20 were killed and others became prisoners. According to the Observer, Makhzoum’s body was not only paraded through the streets but also hung outside the Saiga Camp on display. The Observer claims that the crime was committed by Mahmoud Al-Wirfalli whom they claim is under instruction from radical Salafist scholars.

The head of the Presidential Council, Faiez Serrage reacted with a tweet: Serraj: “We condemn the exhumation of graves & regional slogans, #Libya will not be under military or individual rule”. Another tweet compares the event to the treatment of Gaddafi who was savagely killed after being captured and eventually his body was put on display. A tweet says: Just like what happened to Qaddafi, LNA soldiers parade BRSC leader Jalal Makhzoum’s corps.”Not a good sign … #Libya.” Another tweet argues the events aren’t that comparable: @Eljarh just don’t equate the2, both are awful, but to dig up a dead body, mutilate it and then parade it around town?No different form Isis. Another tweet notes that Haftar’s forces call themselves a national army and should be expected to behave as such and follow the rules of war.

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