NEW YORK, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Attacking Gadhafi loyalists in a town near Misurata undermines the spirit of the Libyan revolution, Human Rights Watch said.
Tripoli fell into rebel hands in August and Moammar Gadhafi was later killed after he fled his hometown of Sirte, ushering in a new transitional government and an end to an eight-month international military campaign.
Human Rights Watch in a report said the town of Tawergha, near Misurata, is completely leveled. Home to some 30,000 people, it was once used by Gadhafi loyalists to launch attacks on rebel strongholds nearby.
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North African director for Human Rights Watch, said, in a statement, that city residents were abused and tortured by fighters loyal to the interim Transitional National Council.
"Revenge against the people from Tawergha, whatever the accusations against them, undermines the goal of the Libyan revolution," she said. "In the new Libya, Tawerghans accused of wrongdoing should be prosecuted based on the law, not subject to vigilante justice."
The rights group noted that Gadhafi's government had warned the people of Tawergha they would be enslaved by the TNC if the city fell.
Libya's new leaders were also called on to investigate the circumstances following Gadhafi's death Oct. 20. He was shown alive, but wounded, following a NATO airstrike on his convoy. He died later while in rebel custody.