Hell on Earth: Life under ISIS in Libya

The Daily Beast reports: Amjad bin Sasi was a young man who enjoyed Western clothing, a fashionable haircut, and even the odd drink.

When ISIS seized control of his hometown of Sirte on Libya’s Mediterranean coast last year, bin Sasi was one of tens of thousands consigned to living in hell on Earth. His torment lasted less than a year—he was shot in the back of the head by an ISIS executioner at the age of 23.

The crime for which he was arrested? Cursing.

This is the reality of life under the control of the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Libya, according to a report by Human Rights Watch, which includes allegations of crimes against humanity, war crimes, mutilation, beatings, and extra-judicial killings.

The U.S. military has drawn up plans for an assault on the ISIS stronghold, but President Obama has refused to sanction any military intervention.

The residents of Sirte live in constant fear of being caught breaking the strict codes of conduct imposed by their ISIS rulers. Every neighbor could be an informant for the Hisba morality police, and harsh penalties are routinely handed down by religious judges after unfair trials.

“Life is hell for people in Sirte,” Letta Tayler, the author of the HRW report, told The Daily Beast. “People told me they are living in constant fear. Many of the men and women I interviewed in Misrata [a nearby city] started crying when they spoke about having to go back because they had no place to go. People were living in absolute terror.”

One of the extraordinary things about life in this ISIS outpost is that even those who bow their heads and follow the hardline rules are forced to live in misery. [Continue reading…]

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