Torture claims surface in Libya, U.N. says

May 2, 2012 at 10:40 AM

TRIPOLI, Libya, May 2 (UPI) -- The U.N. Support Mission in Libya expressed concern that three detainees died from apparent torture at a facility controlled by the Libyan Interior Ministry.

UNSMIL said it believed the deaths of three inmates at a detention facility in Misurata were likely the result of torture. The detainees died mid-April in a facility under the supervision of the Libyan Interior Ministry.

Misurata officials had condemned the abuse and said they'd follow up any investigation with legal actions. UNSMIL, in a statement, said it recognized the efforts of local authorities.

"Nevertheless, with a view to the absolute prohibition of torture under international law, UNSMIL calls upon the government to make addressing these allegations and practices a top priority in pursuit of a new culture of respect for human rights and the rule of law in post-revolution Libya," the mission said in a statement.

UNSMIL said it heard reports that at least seven other detainees were abused in the same facility in Misurata. Other allegations of torture have surfaced in Tripoli and elsewhere, the mission said.

Some detention facilities, the mission adds, were run in secret by paramilitary brigades.

Human Rights Watch in April said paramilitary forces in Misurata were suspected of human rights abuses.

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