(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
The head of the United Nations Support mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Martin Kobler, condemned the torture and killing of 12 prisoners in Tripoli after they were released from the Al-Baraka prison on Thursday.
“I am utterly shocked and saddened by this heinous and vile crime, and particularly outraged by family accounts indicating that the victims were savagely beaten and shot in the head and chest several times.” Martin Kobler said. “This crime should be thoroughly and independently investigated and perpetrators must face justice,” he added.
The 12 ex-detainees were tried on charges of killing protesters during the 2011 Libyan uprising, which saw former dictator Muammar Gaddafi killed and were granted conditional release last week.
After being released on Thursday, the bodies of the 12 were found a day later in various parts of Tripoli, with apparent signs of torture.
The families of the victims said that all of the men were “savagely beaten” and shot in the chest and head several times, and some of the victims were burnt with their hands and feet tied.
Kobler urged the “relevant Libyan authorities to establish a joint national – international investigation and I will follow developments closely.”
The circumstances surrounding the killings are still unclear.
Tripoli’s attorney general said that the killings would be investigated, and the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) has called for an urgent investigation into the case.
Hundreds of inmates are being held in Al–Baraka prison in Tripoli, and a large number of prisoners are accused of being Gaddafi loyalists.
Last year, detainees at the jail told Human Rights Watch that prison guards frequently beat them and tortured them.
The United Nations said that thousands of people, including women and children are currently detained in Libya, many of them arbitrarily.
Kobler said that he would be personally following up with the case, and stressed that the rule of law must be followed and that impunity had to end.