Libya Says Its Reclaiming Prisons

Libya said it is taking steps to control prisons throughout the country after allegations of torture emerged.
Libya Says Its Reclaiming Prisons
Chief Investigator in Tripoli's High Security Committee, Bou Rawi Al-Gobaili, inspects a Gadhafi-era jail Ain Zara in Tripoli on November 16, 2011. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)
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Amid allegations of widespread torture, Libya’s deputy justice minister said that the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) is taking steps to control prisons throughout the country, according to media reports on Sunday.

Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) last week criticized Libyan prisons, saying that there were a number of detainees who were beaten or suffered other forms of torture, with some dying in custody. MSF said it would suspend its aid work indefinitely at prisons in the town of Misrata, one of the most conflict-ridden cities during the country’s civil war last year.

Justice Minister Khalifa Ashour said police are now in control of some of the country’s prisons, reported The Associated Press.

In another development, Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib said a regional security conference is needed to deal with the slew of weapons strewn about the North African nation, some belonging to supporters of slain leader Moammar Gadhafi.

“[There is] still a real threat from some of the armed remnants of the former regime who escaped outside the country and still roam freely. This is a threat for us, for neighboring countries and, our shared relations,” el-Keib said at an African Union meeting on Sunday, according to Reuters.

Some groups like Islamic militant group Boko Haram in Nigeria, which has launched several deadly attacks of late, may have acquired some of these weapons, according to a United Nations report on Thursday.

“My country calls for a regional security conference in Libya of interior and defense ministers of neighboring countries,” el-Keib added, according to the news agency.