Published on 23rd April 2012 by

Lawless Land: Divided Libya awaits election results amid ongoing violence

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Gaddafi may be gone but Libya is now a country in chaos. Rebel groups are flush with weapons and taking the law into their own hands, persecuting those thought to have been allied to Gaddafi’s regime.

Libya’s power vacuum has been filled by heavily armed rebels who still control much of the war-torn nation. Images of the sprawling refugee camps reveal the extent of the country’s destroyed infrastructure. Mohammed Swehli, a commander of one of the major Misratan Rebel Brigades, denies the widespread allegations of torture and abuse. “They’re not bandits, they’re not militia groups”, he says of the rebels. But video after video has emerged of the torture of perceived Gaddafi loyalists, most of them far too gruesome to broadcast. In some cases the brutal treatment appears to be based solely on the colour of the victim’s skin. This report gained rare access to the prisons where thousands are being held indefinitely without charge. One former prisoner shows pictures of his injuries. “This is when they beat me with electric cables. They called me slave”, he says. With upcoming elections and new fears over a split between the country’s east and west, what does the future hold for post-revolution Libya?

SBS – Ref. 5495

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