Libya: Militias ‘Torture Detainees To Death’ – OpEd

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By Vladimir Gladkov

While most of the Western world was busy praising the Arab spring as a long-awaited “triumph of democracy”, the voices of t few skeptics were completely ignored. However, soon it turned out that not only did the revolution fail to bring about any improvements, it actually made the situation much worse. The recently reported scandal with the persecution of pro-democracy groups by the Egyptian authorities is now being followed by another report showing that Libyan militias are, in effect, turning the country into a concentration camp.

Human rights groups led by the Amnesty International have been reporting grave violations of human rights, which have been perpetrated by Libyan militias for a long time. One of the main documents to rebut the widespread stereotype that the only side guilty of committing war crimes was Gaddafi’s army became the Amnesty’s report titled “The Battle for Libya – Killings, Disappearances and Torture”. The report clearly demonstrated that abductions, torture and killings were also widely practiced by Libyan rebels.

The West, which had put great efforts into supporting the Libyan rebellion, initially tried to ignore alarming reports, but the escalation of the situation demonstrated that the violence was only getting extreme by the day.

“After all the promises to get detention centers under control, it is horrifying to find that there has been no progress to stop the use of torture”, says Donatella Rovera of Amnesty International, commenting on the fact that the organization’s representatives have met prisoners who showed marks indicating severe beatings and torture. Now even the UN has to admit that the situation has gone out of control, claiming that 8,500 prisoners are being held by militias in about 60 detention centers. But at the same time, the UN pretends that the outrageous situation is nothing but a legacy of Gaddafi’s era.

“The former regime may have been toppled, but the harsh reality is that the Libyan people continue to have to live with its deep-rooted legacy,” says Ian Martin, the UN’s special envoy to Libya.

The Western sponsors of this violent democratization prefer to hush up the fact that the crimes are being committed by no one but rebel militias who now control much of the country. After the toppling of Gaddafi, militia leaders broke their pledge to give up weapons and announced that they intended to maintain their autonomy as “guardians of revolution”.

The efforts of Libya’s new government, the National Transitional Council, to extend its control over the nation ended the embarrassing failure. Right now there are hundreds of armed militia brigades on Libya’s territory, many of whom run their own detention centers for those accused of being loyal to Gaddafi’s regime. According to another Amnesty report, at least 12 detainees have died since September 2011 as a result of torture. “They 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 electroshock weapons,” – say the group’s representatives, – “Their bodies were covered in bruises, wounds and cuts and some had had nails pulled off,” the group claims.

Now the West has to admit that there is absolutely no hope for any improvement of the situation. While the NTC remains helpless, the militias keeps terrorizing the civilians, spreading death, suffering and bloody chaos across the nation. At the same time, the fall of Gaddafi’s regime grants endless possibilities to all kinds of extremists, including radical Islamists. And the West, which, in effect, sponsored the turning of Libya into a warzone, could face the bitter consequences of its uninvited interference very soon.

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