Libya: Two victims of enforced disappearance reappear and describe the conditions of detention and the torture practised in Libyan prisons

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On 23 June 2014, Alkarama submitted a follow-up communication to the United Nations Special Procedures regarding the case of Younes Al Belali and Salem Derbi. An urgent appeal was submitted on 15 June 2014 following their abduction on 31 May 2014 by forces affiliated to the retired general, Khalifa Haftar.

The two men confirmed the information, previously received by Alkarama, according to which they were arrested at a checkpoint simply because they were from Derna, a city considered to be politically close to the Islamic political tendency. They were then transferred several times from a prison to another, where they remained detained incommunicado and totally isolated from the outside world.

The victims remained under enforced disappearance until 16 June 2014, date of their reappearance. After their release, the two men testified of the particularly dramatic situation and the bad conditions of detention in all the prisons in which they had successively been detained. They claimed that they were not tortured themselves because of their old age, but they however reported that they had been ill-treated, insulted, continuously humiliated and detained in overcrowded cells without WC, in deplorable hygienic condition,.

Al Belali and Derbi reported that in all the places of detention, most of the detainees, arrested for their belonging to certain tribes or political movements, were systematically subjected to serious torture. Salem Derbi reported having heard detainees' cries of pain and seen detainees with visible marks of torture. Alkarama expressed concerns about the possibility that some victims of torture have been executed.

After being questioned by a "special commission" which found that none of them was in relation with Islamist groups, they were both released on the evening of 16 June 2014 after 16 days of incommunicado detention.
Alkarama recalls that the arbitrary arrests and detention, enforced disappearance, offences against life and torture constitute serious crimes with no status of limitation for their perpetrators, and for any person directly or indirectly involved.

Alkarama expressed its concerns over the current situation and urged the UN Special Procedures to remind the Libyan government of its international obligations, to ensure the security of citizens and to take concrete measures to stop all human rights violations in any territory under its jurisdiction.

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