Sunday, February 12, 2012

Concerns build over Libyan fighters running jails

(Reuters) - The revolutionary fighters-turned-jailors who run what passes for a justice system in Libya's Gharyan region say they are making the best of a bad business.

"We need help from the government. We are paying for food and medicine from our own pockets," said Ayad Sager, still dressed in desert camouflage fatigues, with an AK-47 assault rifle slung around his shoulder, three months after the end of the civil war.

Sager says he and 60 of his veteran revolutionary fighters volunteer in shifts to run Guwasim prison, 50 miles south of Tripoli, to "maintain security" in the absence of any real authority imposed by the interim government.

International human rights organizations and observers say the reality is infinitely darker, however. The prisons are being used as sites to wreak revenge against those who fought for former leader Muammar Gaddafi and also as bargaining chips in the struggle for who ultimately will hold power in Libya, they say. Read More