Libya’s authorities must urgently investigate the death of a soldier who was tortured to death last week following 10 hours of interrogation by his own army unit, said Amnesty International.
Hussein Radwan Raheel, 37, who served with the Saiqa Forces, an elite army unit under the Ministry of Defence, was severely beaten and subjected to electric shocks, family members told Amnesty International. A forensic report and photos of his body seen by the organization also indicate that he was tortured.
“Torture and ill-treatment were routinely used by the state to terrorize the Libyan people under al-Gaddafi’s brutal rule. The Libyan authorities must show that the country has made a clean break with the past by sending a strong message that human rights violations by state officials will no longer be tolerated,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.
“An independent, impartial civilian-led investigation into the death of Hussein Radwan Raheel must be carried out and its results made public. Those responsible for his death must be held to account to show that torturers will not be granted free rein in Libya today.”
Amnesty International fears that a military investigation will lack transparency and independence and will only lead to whitewashing abuses.
“Since the Libyan uprising two years ago, the authorities have turned a blind eye to abuses by militias, entrenching impunity. Failing to punish violations perpetrated by state agencies will only lead to institutionalized torture,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.
According to a forensic report, Hussein Radwan Raheel died after he was repeatedly beaten and given electric shocks causing heart and circulatory failure. He had bruises on his nose, face, chest, back and limbs as well as electric shock marks on his arms.