Medical group leaves Libyan city’s prisons
BENGHAZI / TRIPOLI
AA photoDoctors Without Borders (MSF) has said it suspended its work in prisons in the Libyan city of Misrata on Jan. 26 because it said torture was so rampant that some detainees were brought for care only to make them fit for further interrogation.
Jan. 26’s announcement was compounded by a statement from Amnesty International saying it has recorded widespread prisoner abuse in other cities as well, leading to the deaths of several inmates. The allegations, which come more than three months after former leader Moammar Gadhafi was captured and killed, were an embarrassment to the governing National Transitional Council, which is struggling to establish its authority in the divided nation.
MSF said that since August, its medical teams have treated 115 people in Misrata who bore torture-related wounds, including cigarette burns, heavy bruising, bone fractures, tissue burns from electric shocks and kidney failure from beatings. Two detainees died after being interrogated, the group’s general director said. “Patients were brought to us in the middle of interrogation for medical care, in order to make them fit for further interrogation. This is unacceptable,” MSF general director Christopher Stokes said in a statement.
“Our role is to provide medical care to war casualties and sick detainees, not to repeatedly treat the same patients between torture sessions.” MSF said it will continue its support in Misrata hospitals and schools in addition to providing assistance to African migrants, refugees and internally displaced people in and around Tripoli. Amnesty International said that despite promises, Libya’s new rulers have made “no progress to stop the use of torture.” “The torture is being carried out by officially recognized military and security entities, as well by a multitude of armed militias operating outside any legal framework,” Amnesty said.
Compiled from AP and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.