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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Migrants Complain of Physical Violence at Libya Detention Centers


Fri 08 Oct 2021 | 02:57 PM
Ahmad El-Assasy

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said that the number of persons held in detention centres in Tripoli, Libya, has tripled in the previous five days, after at least 5,000 migrants and refugees were seized amid violent mass arrests across the city since October 1.

MSF offers medical care in three detention centres in Tripoli, where many of the detainees are confined in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions with insufficient food, water, shelter, or medical care.

On Wednesday, MSF urged Libyan authorities to halt indiscriminate mass arrests of vulnerable migrants and refugees and to free all persons held in detention centres illegally.

During the raids on their residences, many of those arrested said they were subjected to serious physical violence, including sexual violence. According to the United Nations, one child migrant was killed and at least five others were wounded by gunshots.

“Armed and masked security men raided our house where I was living with three other people,” said Abdo whose name was changed to protect anonymity. “They tied our hands behind our backs and dragged us out of the house. We were pleading for them to give us time to collect our belongings and important papers, but they wouldn’t listen. We were beaten in the process. Some people were beaten on their legs and suffered fractures.

“They hit me on the head with the butt of a gun and I suffered serious injuries—the doctor had to stitch the wound and wrap it with 10 different dressings. The masked men led us all into vehicles, then we found ourselves in Ghout Sha’al detention center [also known as Al-Mabani].

"I was there for four days and experienced a very difficult time, seeing helpless people being beaten with weapons. On the fourth day, I managed to escape. I am free now.”

MSF’s operations manager for Libya Ellen van der Velden said that instead of increasing the number of people held in detention centers, the authorities should make efforts to end arbitrary detention and close the dangerous facilities.

“Migrants and refugees are living in danger and are trapped in Libya with very limited options for a way out as humanitarian flights have been unjustifiably suspended for the second time this year.”