Amnesty: Haftar’s military is holding sham trials and sentencing civilians to death

Amnesty International accuses forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar of conducting false trials and condemning innocent tortured civilians to death without evidence

The organization called on the GNU to bring an end to the unjust trials and unfounded death sentences passed on to prisoners who have not received their fair day in court. [Photo: REUTERS]
Amnesty International today accused the military courts under the rule of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, of holding sham trials of prisoners who had been tortured, resulting in the death sentence of at least 22 people since 2018.

“Hundreds of civilians in eastern Libya have been convicted in secret and grossly unjust military trials, aimed at prosecuting oppositionists and actual or perceived opponents of the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF), headed by Haftar and allied armed groups,” the rights group said in its report.

“Two individuals targeted specifically for their journalistic work, a group who took part in peaceful demonstrations, and tens of people who defended human rights or expressed criticism of the LAAF or related armed groups on social media,” according to the report.

Former detainees were quoted in the study as saying that they were tortured “abducted and held incommunicado for up to 20 months in circumstances similar to enforced disappearance, beaten, abused, and waterboarded Some people said they were required to sign “confessions” for crimes they didn’t commit.”

Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, explained that “Military trials of civilians are inherently unfair and breach international and regional laws. Such courts are held in secret in eastern Libya, often without the presence of lawyers or defendants, undermining any sense of justice.”

She urged the Government of National Unity to “immediately put an end to civilian military trials and order international law inquiries into torture and other violations committed by armed groups against prisoners,” adding that Haftar’s forces “seek to exercise effective control over eastern Libya.”

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