Libya Crimes Watch (LCW) strongly condemns the abusive arrests carried out by the military and security authorities in Benghazi between October 6 and 14, 2023. At least 12 civilians from Benghazi and the surrounding areas were arrested during this period.
The arrests followed a military operation by the Libyan Armed Forces against a group of armed men loyal to former Defense Minister Mahdi Al-Barghathi in the Salmani neighbourhood of Benghazi on Friday, October 6, 2023. The operation resulted in the death of a 10-year-old child by stray gunfire, as well as the deaths of several armed men from both sides. The operation was also accompanied by a week-long blackout of all communications and internet services in the city.
The arrests targeted activists and one journalist. They remain in arbitrary detention in the Benghazi Internal Security Service prison without being allowed to contact their families or access lawyers. The victims’ families are also being pressured to prevent them from speaking about their detained relatives.
LCW considers these repressive measures to be a flagrant violation of human rights. The organization calls on the authorities in eastern Libya to immediately stop the abusive arrests, release all detainees, and disclose the fate of the forcibly disappeared.
LCW also calls on the Libyan Attorney General to open an independent and impartial investigation into the human rights violations that have occurred in Benghazi in recent months and to hold those responsible accountable.
In addition, LCW calls for the guarantee of freedom of access to information and an end to the blackout of the internet and communications.
Finally, LCW calls on the international community to take the necessary steps to urge the Libyan authorities to respect human rights and international laws and treaties.