NCHRL: human rights violations in Misrata prisons

By Jamal Adel

Kufra, 6 November 2014:

The National Commission for Human Rights in Libya (NCHRL) has alleged that there are persistent human rights violations in Misrata prisons and has called on Libyan authorities to put a stop to them.

“The NCHRL has documented a series of human rights violations in Misrata over the past year,” Abdilmuaem Igreemida, an administrative staff member at the NCHRL, told the Libya Herald.

Igreemida said that the evidence had been gathered through interviews with  employees and prisoners inside the Misrata prisons.

“Some prisoners were executed at Tamena Prison,” Igreemida said. “In one case, a man named Fakhri Al-Daba from Al-Khums was put to death and his body was returned to the family partially decomposed, the prison having retained his personal identity papers.”

It has been reported that many of the jails are not under the authority of the Ministry of Justice, but are rather “secret prisons”, reserved for members of the former Qaddafi brigades and of the  Tawergha tribe who helped regime forces attack Misrata during the revolution in 2011.

The exact number of people detained in these secret prisons is unknown, but it is believed to be around 6,000.

Verdicts have been overturned because of pressure from armed groups.

“Eye witnesses have confirmed that during the trial of Al-Madani Al-Shuwairif, who served as Grand Mufti during Qaddafi’s time, armed men stormed the courtroom and forced the judge to change his mind after he had already ruled that the cleric was not guilty,” Igreemida said.

At times, defendants from Misrata have been given special treatment. In one example there were five men from Misrata on trial who had worked as riot police under Qaddafi. As an expression of gratitude for the Misratans who had died during the revolution, one of the defendants was put to death, while the other four were sentenced to life in prison with a bail of LD 120,000, Igreemida disclosed.

“These procedures are unjust and are not consistent with the practices in other Libyan courts,” Igreemida said.