Italian fishermen recall horrors of being held by Haftar forces

Fisherman held for over three months recall details of their time in captivity

Boats carrying the fishermen home arrive in the port of Mazara del Vallo, Italy. [Photo: Getty]
The eighteen fishermen held by forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar for over three months finally made it home to Italy this week.

The fishermen were taken by Haftar forces on the grounds that they were in Libyan waters without permission and held in Benghazi for over 100 days.

A wife of one of the fisherman told Anadolu Agency on Sunday that her husband was kept in a dark, four square-meter room, adding that it was a shame that the government took so long in freeing their own citizens.

Tunisian Insaf Jemmali, son of another abducted fisherman said that the claims that his father and the other sailors were violating Libya’s territorial waters were not true, claiming that they were on international waters and the reason for their abduction was more political in nature.

He also added that when speaking with his father over the phone he learned that during the time being held in Benghazi, the fishermen were moved to four different locations, put under an intense amount of psychological pressure and were not even told what they were eating.

Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio rejoiced the release of the fisherman on social media writing “Our fishermen are free, in a few hours, they will be able to embrace their families and relatives.”

Di Maio and Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte flew to Benghazi for the announcement of the fishermen’s liberation.

It has not been made clear what lead to the release of the fisherman or if there had been a deal stricken between Haftar and the Italian Government.

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