Libya: Five thousand still in militia-controlled detention centres as deadline for handover passes

Libya Herald reports: An estimated 5,000 people are still being held in militia-run detention facilities, two days after the deadline to hand them over to government control expired, Human Rights Watch said today.

Under Law 38, the ministries of interior and defence were required to refer all “supporters of the former regime” currently detained by militias to the competent judicial authorities by 12 July, provided sufficient evidence existed against them to bring a charge.

HRW accused the government of “a lack of political will” in challenging militias over the issue, and said it had “shied away from using force” as a way of compelling them to comply.

“We are not saying they should use force”, insisted Tripoli-based researcher Hanan Salah, when asked if HRW was advocating military action by the government to enforce its mandate, “we are just saying that they haven’t”.

The rights group claimed that some detainees were “subjected to severe torture” and that it receives new allegations of abuse “on a weekly basis”.

In addition, HRW has estimated that 4,000 detainees are now being held in state custody under the authority of the Ministry of Justice across eight regions.

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