Libya’s NTC Holding, Abusing Thousands Without Charges

Guards Admit to Beating Detainees for 'Confessions'

In investigations of the NATO-backed National Transitional Council (NTC) in Libya, Amnesty International has found the group is holding more than 2,500 detainees in makeshift prisons without charges in the wake of their conquest of much of western Libya.

To make matters worse, the detainees are subjected to virtually daily beatings, with guards admitting that they use savage beatings in an effort to get faster “confessions” out of the people there are holding.

Amnesty warned that the NTC risked doing serious harm to their reputation if they did not abandon the practices of arbitrary detention and torture, which seems unlikely since most of the detainees are held not by the national NTC but by its assorted local allies.

For the NTC fighters in many of these cities, the detentions are part of a broad campaign of revenge against those perceived to be opposed to their rebellion. In many cases this has included black migrant workers, as past reports have the NTC arresting black people entirely on the basis of their skin color, taking that as evidence they were mercenaries.

Another report, from Human Rights Watch, also warned NTC forces against targeting civilians in the attack on Sirte. They also urged them to respect the law with respect to the massive number of detainees the city’s conquest is sure to lead to.



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.