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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

HRW releases report on US torture and rendetion in #Qaddafi's #Libya

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Today, Human Rights Watch has released this report on the Bush administration's collaboration with Qaddafi in Bush's so-called "War on Terror":
US: Torture and Rendition to Gaddafi’s Libya

New Accounts of Waterboarding, Other Water Torture, Abuses in Secret Prisons
September 6, 2012

(Washington) – The United States government during the Bush administration tortured opponents of Muammar Gaddafi, then transferred them to mistreatment in Libya, according to accounts by former detainees and recently uncovered CIA and UK Secret Service documents, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. One former detainee alleged he was waterboarded and another described a similar form of water torture, contradicting claims by Bush administration officials that only three men in US custody had been waterboarded.

The 154-page report, “Delivered into Enemy Hands: US-Led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gaddafi’s Libya,” is based on interviews conducted in Libya with 14 former detainees, most of whom belonged to an armed Islamist group that had worked to overthrow Gaddafi for 20 years. Many members of the group, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), joined the NATO-backed anti-Gaddafi rebels in the 2011 conflict. Some of those who were rendered and allegedly tortured in US custody now hold key leadership and political positions in the country.

“Not only did the US deliver Gaddafi his enemies on a silver platter but it seems the CIA tortured many of them first,” said Laura Pitter, counterterrorism advisor at Human Rights Watch and author of the report. “The scope of Bush administration abuse appears far broader than previously acknowledged and underscores the importance of opening up a full-scale inquiry into what happened.”
“The stories of the Libyans held by the US and then sent to Libya make clear that detainee abuse, including mistreatment not necessarily specifically authorized by Bush administration officials, was far-reaching,” Pitter said. “The closure of the Durham investigation, without any charges, sends a message that abuse like that suffered by the Libyan detainees will continue to be tolerated.”

Since the fall of the Gaddafi government, US diplomats and members of Congress have met with some of the former CIA prisoners now in Libya, and the US has supported efforts by the Libyan government and civil society to overcome the legacy of their country’s authoritarian past. Human Rights Watch urged the US government to acknowledge its own past role in abuses and in helping Gaddafi round up his exiled opponents, to provide redress to the victims, and to prosecute those responsible for their alleged torture in US custody.
Scores of the documents that Human Rights Watch uncovered in Libya also show a high level of cooperation between the Gaddafi government in Libya and US and the UK in the renditions discussed in the report. More...

In a related development, yesterday Qaddafi's former state security chief and torture master Abdullah al-Senussi was returned to Libya were he will be tried for crimes against the people. He also holds many of the secrets of the Qaddafi regime, especially with regards to Libya's dealings with the CIA and MI6. Senussi, like Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, has been the subject of struggle with the International Criminal Court over who gets them first. The ICC has raised doubts about the ability of revolutionary Libya to give their former tyrants a fair trial while many in Libya suspect that the real motivation of the ICC and it's backers in the US and Britain, is to see that many of the secrets these two men hold as to NATO nations relations to the Qaddafi regime are never heard in open court.

That Mauritania decided to honor the request for extradition from Libya is considered a vote in their favor and against the ICC.

Qaddafi's trial was due to begin this month but Reuters is reporting today that it may be delayed so as to make use of testimony from the former state security chief. The BBC has this report on the news:
Mauritania deports Libya spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi

Deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's intelligence chief is being held in Tripoli after being deported from Mauritania.
5 September 2012 Last updated at 13:45 ET

Pictures on social media appeared to show Abdullah al-Senussi stepping down from a helicopter in the capital.

Libya has promised a fair trial for Mr Senussi, accused of crimes allegedly committed during Col Gaddafi's rule.

He fled Libya after last year's uprising. He is also wanted by France and the International Criminal Court.

"Abdullah al-Senussi will have a fair trial according to international standards for human rights, the rights from which Libyans were deprived," Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib told reporters in Tripoli.

A spokesman for Libya's attorney general said Mr Senussi had undergone a routine medical check-up and was in good health. He added that the prosecutors would begin questioning him as soon as possible.

BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen says a key question is what he might reveal about extraordinary rendition - the process under which jihadist enemies of Col Gaddafi's Libya were sent back to Libya by the US and Britain. More ...
Click here for a list of my other blogs on Libya

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