Libya: Detainees tortured and denied medical care by MSF UK

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Detainees in the Libyan city of Misrata are being tortured and denied urgent medical care, leading Médecins Sans Frontières MSF (Doctors Without Borders) to suspend its operations in detention centres in Misrata.

MSF teams began working in Misrata’s detention centres in August 2011 to treat war-wounded detainees.

Since then, MSF doctors have been increasingly confronted with patients who have suffered injuries caused by torture during interrogation sessions.

The interrogations were held outside the detention centres.

In total, MSF has treated 115 people with torture-related wounds and reported all the cases to the relevant authorities in Misrata.

Patients returned to torture

Since January, several of the patients who were returned to interrogation centres have been tortured again.

Some officials have sought to exploit and obstruct MSF’s medical work,” says MSF General Director Christopher Stokes.

Patients were brought to us for medical care between interrogation sessions, so that they would be fit for further interrogation.

This is unacceptable. Our role is to provide medical care to war casualties and sick detainees, not to repeatedly treat the same patients between torture sessions.”

MSF medical teams were also asked to treat patients inside the interrogation centres, which was categorically refused by the organisation.

Alarming cases</h2>

The most alarming case occurred on 3 January 2012 when MSF doctors treated a group of 14 detainees returning from an interrogation centre located outside the detention facilities.

Despite previous MSF demands for an immediate end to torture, nine of the 14 detainees suffered numerous injuries and displayed obvious signs of having been tortured.

The MSF team informed the National Army Security Service – the agency responsible for interrogations – that a number of patients needed to be transferred to hospitals for urgent and specialised care.

All but one of the detainees were again deprived of essential medical care and were subjected to renewed interrogations and torture outside the detention centres.

MSF demands immediate end to torture

After meeting with various authorities, MSF sent an official letter on 9 January 2012 to the Misrata Military Council, the Misrata Security Committee, the National Army Security Service and the Misrata Local Civil Council, again demanding an immediate stop to any form of ill treatment of detainees.

“No concrete action has been taken,” says Stokes. “Instead, our team received four new torture cases. We have therefore come to the decision to suspend our medical activities in the detention centres.”

MSF has been working in Misrata since April 2011, in the midst of the Libyan conflict. Since August 2011, MSF has worked in Misrata’s detention centres, treating war-wounded, performing surgeries, and providing orthopaedic follow-up care to people who had suffered bone fractures.

MSF medical teams have carried out 2,600 consultations, including 311 for violent trauma.

MSF will continue its mental health support activities in schools and health facilities in Misrata, in addition to its assistance to 3,000 African migrants, refugees and internally displaced people in and around Tripoli.

MSF is an international humanitarian medical organisation which has worked in Libya since 25 February 2011.

To ensure the independence of its medical work, MSF relies solely on private donations to finance its activities in Libya and does not accept any funding from governments, donor agencies, or military or political groups.


Donate: Doctors Without Borders


Updated: Jan. 27, 2012

on Jan 27, 2012

Several detainees in Libya have died in recent weeks as a result of torture, according to Amnesty International. The human rights group says the crimes were committed by the Libyan military and security forces. The accusations follow similar claims by a French medical aid agency. Thousands of Gaddafi loyalists remain behind bars, now suffering the same atrocities handed out under the late Colonel’s regime. RT’s Maria Finoshina reports.

Tortured Freedom: Libya’s new rulers resort to old tactics


Rumor and Anger Mount in Libya by Franklin Lamb

Libya: Reporting War Crimes AFTER the Facts by Finian Cunningham

Return to Sorman – Anatomy of a NATO war crime by Franklin Lamb

NATO’S massacre of civilians including children at Majer, Libya by Franklin Lamb

7 thoughts on “Libya: Detainees tortured and denied medical care by MSF UK

  1. Pingback: Syria and the media: “Activists say…” By William Bowles « Dandelion Salad

  2. Watching the Arab People marching peaceably and non-violently being shot and killed for wanting Freedom and Democracy from Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain, there were no such spontaneous demonstrations in Libya.

    This must have been so disturbing to the West since all the Dictatorships acquiescing to Western interests were being challenged, but not Libya. The 1st word of trouble was of an armed insurrection, not peaceful protestors taking to the streets in Tripoli.

    There is no doubt the North Atlantic Terrorist Organization led the charge, fought and won the civil war for the insurrectionists from the air. The Western msm reports nothing on Libya since the war of aggression to take control of Libya’s oil.

    Syria is doing to the peaceful protestors what Gadaffi said he would do to the armed insurgents with the emphasis on armed. Syria does not have the oil of Libya, so there are only pious statements and hand wringing from the West on the responsibility to protect.

    Libya’s neighbors fight to avert slide ‘into hell’
    By REUTERS 01/23/2012 20:20
    Analysis: Desert areas destabilized by Libyan war risk becoming safe havens for al-Qaida and international criminals.

    “There is resentment that British and French action removed a generous, if fickle, donor to many African states and ended Libya’s welcome for hundreds of thousands of Sahelian workers whose remittances were an economic lifeline.”

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