Libyan Rebels Accused of Torture, Revenge Killings

Human Rights Watch Urges New Regime to Stop Beating Detainees

Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) is coming under growing scrutiny today, not just for its growing internal faction fighting, but for the behavior of its fighting force. Replacing Moammar Gadhafi sets the bar pretty low for human rights, one would think, but the rebels seem to be struggling to meet even this standard.

Torture has become increasingly common among rebel fighters, who summarily arrest anyone suspected of supporting the old regime, and Human Rights Watch issued a statement today urging the NTC to stop its fighters from beating and shocking detainees.

Human rights groups are also expressing disquiet about the growing evidence of “revenge killings” against not just defeated regime forces, but suspected supporters as well.

This is not a new problem, but a growing one. The rebel military forces have been dumping bodies en masse for awhile, and being black has been probable cause for arrest virtually since the rebels took over the west. There seems to be little interest among the NTC leadership to change any of this, but as it continues, it remains to be seen how long NATO can turn a blind eye to their “allies” on the ground.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.