Human Rights Watch has issued THIS PRESS RELEASE:
Evidence of War Crimes Before Tripoli Fell
(Tripoli) -- Evidence indicates that forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi killed at least 17 detainees in a makeshift prison as rebel forces began advancing on the neighborhood of Gargur in Tripoli around August 21, 2011, Human Rights Watch said today. According to one witness who survived the killing, Libyan security forces shot the detainees at the Al-Amal al-Akhdar building belonging to the Libyan Internal Security service.
Human Rights Watch has also documented evidence of suspected arbitrary executions of dozens of other civilians, including medical professionals, by Gaddafi loyalists over the past week.
"Torture was rife in Gaddafi's prisons but to execute detainees days before they would have been freed is a sickening low in the government's behavior," said Sarah Leah Whitson  , Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch said. "The evidence we have been able to gather so far strongly suggests that Gaddafi government forces went on a spate of arbitrary killing as Tripoli was falling."
Separately, on August 26, Human Rights Watch found 18 bodies rotting in small groups near the Internal Security building in a dry riverbed between Gargur and Bab al-Aziziya, Gaddafi's former compound. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that Gaddafi forces had killed them at different times in the week prior to August 25, when Libyan rebels seized control of the area. It is unclear if any of those killed were armed at the time of their death, but Human Rights Watch observed two among the 18 bodies had their hands tied behind their backs and two were wearing the green scrubs of Libyan doctors and nurses. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that several others were unarmed.
Human Rights Watch also documented 29 other bodies found in and around a makeshift field clinic outside Bab al-Aziziya where there were signs that Gaddafi loyalists had been present. Four bodies were found lying on beds in the clinic itself, and several more were lying on cushions in and around what looked like military tents. Volunteers took the bodies into trucks. Human Rights Watch inspected one corpse with a gunshot wound to the head, and one body with his hands tied behind his back. Khalid Kofran, 35, who volunteered on the team that was removing the bodies, said he had seen at least three or four corpses with their hands and legs tied. Human Rights Watch has not collected sufficient information to date to indicate who may be responsible for the deaths, and there is no forensic analysis yet.
"Just Finish Them Off"
Human Rights Watch interviewed three people with direct knowledge of the execution of detainees, including one survivor. Seventeen of the bodies were taken to the Matiga Hospital in Tripoli on August 24, according to medical professionals who inspected them.
On August 25, Human Rights Watch also examined two corpses that were still in place at the Al-Amal al-Akhdar Internal Security building in Gargur where the suspected execution of detainees took place.
Osama Hadi Mansur Al-Swayi was one of the survivors of the massacre at the Internal Security building. He was one of approximately 25 people who were held there. He told Human Rights Watch:"The Khamis Brigade took me on August 19. One of the guards in the house [where they took me] told me that if I am innocent, Khamis could solve my problems. It happened at 2 p.m. on Monday [August 21]. We started hearing the rebels yelling Allahu Akbar. We were so happy, and we knew we would be released soon" Snipers were upstairs; then they came downstairs and started shooting. An old man [and another person] were shot outside our door. [The rest of us] ran out because they opened the door and said, "Quickly, quickly, go out." They told us to lie down on the ground. When I opened my eyes, I saw three dark men. One soldier gave the order, "Just finish them off," but I don't know who it was. There were four of them who fired at us: one was an old man with a grey beard, and three were dark-skinned, maybe from the south. I was near the corner and got hit in the right hand, the right foot and the right shoulder. In one instant, they finished off all the people with me. What I saw I haven't ever seen even in a movie. No one was breathing. Some of them had head wounds."
On August 26, Human Rights Watch also found two additional bodies in the closet under the stairs in the Al-Amal al-Akhdar Internal Security building where Al-Swayi said he had been detained for two days. Al-Swayi told Human Rights Watch that two men had also been killed on the ground floor where he was held just before the massacre, not in the courtyard. It could not be confirmed that these corpses were of the same men. There were dozens of spent cartridges and bloodstains on the ground in the outdoor courtyard where he said the majority of the detainees had been killed.
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