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(Avvenire) Libya. Torture in detention camps: the new shock images

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Monday, 06 January 2020

Libya. Torture in detention camps: the new shock images

Paolo Lambruschi  6 January 2020
Woman hung upside down and beaten: the horror stories from the concentration camp of Bani Walid, Libya. You died in two months. The names of the slavers sprout: "They rap and kill us"
A young Eritrean woman hanging upside down screams as she is repeatedly beaten in the "black room", the torture room in the detention centers in Libya.  This is a sequence of frames of the video shock sent by his tormentors to the family members of the woman taken with sticks in order to extort money to save her daughter
A young Eritrean woman hanging upside down screams as she is repeatedly beaten in the "black room", the torture room in the detention centers in Libya. This is a sequence of frames of the video shock sent by his tormentors to the family members of the woman taken with sticks in order to extort money to save her daughter

A young Eritrean woman hanging upside down screams as she is repeatedly beaten in the "black room", the torture room found in many Libyan migrant centers. The video shock - of which we report only a few still images - was sent via smartphone to the families of the unfortunate who must find the money to redeem her and save her life.

This is what happens to Bani Walid, an informal detention center, in the hands of the Libyan militias. But also in official detention centers, where detainees are under the "protection" of the Tripoli authorities paid by the EU and Italy: the situation is precipitating with scarce food, no medical assistance, corruption. In Libya, UNHCR has registered 40 thousand refugees and asylum seekers, 6 thousand of whom are locked up in the system formed by the 12 official detention centers, the rest in centers such as Bani Walid or in the street. In all, estimates the "Global detention project", there would be 33 jails. There are also mainly unregistered African detainees whose estimate is impossible.

The life of the girl from the Horn of Africa hanging, we wrote it seven days ago , is worth $ 12,500. But nobody intervenes and the horror stories continue from Bani Walid, unanimously considered the most cruel torture site in Libya. Another Eritrean inmate died here in recent days from torture with stick, knife and electric shock because he could not pay. In all they make six deaths in two months. This time we have not been able to know his generality and at least give him dignity in death. When the connection with hell near us opens, they arrive on the smartphone with the hum of a message inhuman photos and desperate requests for help, words of anguish and terror that in Italy and in the EU we have ignored by turning our heads or even blaming the victims.

«We eat one bread a day and one in the evening, we drink a glass of dirty water each. There are no toilets, ”one of them writes in broken English. "Hurry up, help us, we are exhausted," he continues. The group of 66 Eritrean prisoners who have been in the hands of Libyan traffickers for over two months has shrunk to 60 people crammed into the group of sheds that form the mega detention center in the countryside in the Tasni al Harbi district, on the outskirts of the tribe city of the Warfalla, located in the Misurata district, about 150 kilometers southeast of Tripoli. Lager owned by traffickers, inaccessible to UNHCR in a crossroads of migratory routes from the south (Sebha) and east (Kufra) to reach the coast, where almost all migrants in Libya stopped and paid a ransom to embark.

The kidnappers, confirmed several times the refugees from Democratic Eritrea first contacted by the fellow prisoners, bought them from the Eritrean trafficker Abuselam "Ferensawi", the Frenchman, one of the major human meat merchants in Libya today probably disappeared in Qatar to enjoy the proceeds of his crimes. Bani Walid, according to the testimonies also collected by the Italian lawyer based in London Giulia Tranchina, is a large tank of human meat from all over Africa, where prisoners are separated by nationality. The ransom price varies by source and is rising in view of the conflict. The Africans in the Horn are worth more to traffickers because Somalis and Eritreans often have relatives in the West who feel a lot of family ties and pay. Three months ago, Eritrean prisoners were worth 10 thousand dollars, today 2,500 dollars more because on the stock exchange of death the quotation of those who flee and is captured or of those who prolong their stay for insolvency and are repeatedly sold, goes up. Payment must be made by money transfer to Sudan or Egypt.

So what happens in this bazaar of human beings is known to the Libyan authorities, European governments and UNHCR. But nobody can or wants to do anything. According to the testimonies of some prisoners, even Libyan policemen in uniform enter some buildings to buy African prisoners to make them work in the fields or on construction sites as slaves.

«The eight girls who are with us - continues the message sent from hell by one of the 60 Eritrean prisoners - are beaten and raped. We don't go out to work. There are three jailers and they are Libyan. The chief is called Hamza, the other is called Ashetaol and of the third we know only the nickname: Satan ». From other testimonies it appears that the executioner is actually Egyptian and also has another name, Abdellah. He would have murdered many inmates.

But even in public detention centers in Libya, the situation remains at least difficult. Even in the UNHCR's Tripoli Gdf center for migrants in the process of relocation managed by the Libyan Ministry of the Interior and by the partner LibAid where migrants left free from other centers on the streets of the Libyan capital in December tried in vain to ask for food and shelter. On December 31, the Associated Press reported with an investigation that at least seven million euros allocated by the EU for security were pocketed by the head of a militia and deputy director of the Libyan department for combating immigration. This is Mohammed Kachlaf, boss of the notorious Abd Al-Rahman Al-Milad known as Bija, who would have accompanied to Italy on the journey documented by Nello Scavo on Avvenire. He ended up on the black list of traffickers of the UN security council who actually froze his accounts.

But it didn't help. The agency found that half of LibAid's employees are nominees on the payroll of the militias and the 50 dinars ($ 35) a day allocated by UNHCR for food supplies to each migrant, only 2 dinars were spent while the meals cooked they were redistributed among the guards or placed on the black market. According to the investigation, the money was also disbursed to Libyan subcontracting companies run by militiamen with current accounts in Tunisia, where they were exchanged in local currency and recycled. An internal email from the United Nations agency reveals that everyone was aware of it, but could not intervene. The UNHCR said it had eliminated the subcontracting system from January 1.

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Migranti, video choc di torture dai centri di detenzione non ...

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