Some 7,000 people are being held and tortured in inhuman conditions in Libya, in detention centres controlled by militias, according to a leaked new UN report.
The report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon ahead of a Security Council meeting on Monday states that ‘enemies of the state’ have ‘disappeared’.
Many of the detainees are suffering systematic mistreatment while being held in private jails outside the control of the country’s new NTC government.
His report says that ‘while political prisoners held by the Gadaffi regime have been released, an estimated 7,000 detainees are currently held in prisons and makeshift detention centres, most of which are under the control of counter-revolutionary brigades, with no access to due process in the absence of a functioning police and judiciary.’
Of particular worry was the fate of women being held for alleged links with the previous regime, often due to family connections.
The report adds: ‘There have also been reports of women held in detention in the absence of female guards and under male supervision, and of children detained alongside adults.’
A number of black Africans were lynched following the NATO-backed counter-revolution. The city of Tawerga, mainly comprised of residents originally from sub-Saharan countries, was largely destroyed by rebel fighters from neighbouring Misrata.
The UN report says that ‘sub-Saharan Africans, in some cases accused or suspected of being mercenaries, constitute a large number of the detainees.
‘Some detainees have reportedly been subjected to torture and ill treatment. Cases have been reported of individuals being targeted because of the colour of their skin.’
The document adds: ‘Tawergas are reported to have been targeted in revenge killings, or taken by armed men from their homes, checkpoints and hospitals, and some allegedly later abused or executed in detention. Members of the community have fled to various cities across Libya.’
In a personal note in the document, Ban Ki-Moon said: ‘The international community must support the efforts to establish the fate of missing persons and to bring to justice perpetrators with the greatest responsibility for such crimes.’