Retreating Gadhafi forces slay detainees at two sites

Prisoners killed this week ahead of rebel advances

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Troops loyal to longtime Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi massacred more than 180 prisoners at two locations south of Tripoli this week, according to eyewitnesses and a survivor.

The incidents took place on Tuesday and Wednesday as rebels overran Col. Gadhafi’s fortified compound, Bab al-Azizia, in Tripoli and closed in on other regime strongholds.

Eyewitnesses and a survivor told The Washington Times that pro-Gadhafi troops lobbed grenades and shot the prisoners.

One incident took place at the site of a Brazilian construction company, which had been contracted by the regime to build the new Ring Road around Tripoli. The men had been detained in a hangar, a cinderblock building with a metal roof.

About 70 men were detained at this makeshift prison in Guser Bin Gashir around 12 miles south of Tripoli.

Libyan dead bodies lay in the hospital of Abu Salim district, in Tripoli, Libya, on Aug. 26, 2011. The four-story hospital was completely empty with shattered glass over the floors, dark with dried blood stains and with medical equipment strewn about. In the hospital yard next to the parking lot is a pile of 20 decomposing bodies, all of them darker skinned than most Libyans, covered with blankets. Gadhafi had recruited fighters from sub-Saharan Africa. (Associated Press)

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Libyan dead bodies lay in the hospital of Abu Salim district, in ... more >

Early on Wednesday morning, guards dragged six men, including two doctors, from solitary confinement and executed them with their Kalashnikovs, according to accounts.

Mahmoud Okok, a 29-year-old engineer who had been detained at this site, told The Times that he and the other detainees panicked when they realized that the guards were planning to execute them all. They managed to break out of the prison. The five guards fled.

Two of Mr. Okok’s friends, both engineers, were among the six men executed at Guser Bin Gashir.

A day earlier, at another site in a military camp in Khilit al-Ferjan in southwestern Tripoli, guards lobbed grenades at around 200 prisoners. Eyewitnesses said 182 people had died in that incident.

The prisoners included men from Zliten and Misrata, both located on the Mediterranean coast in the western part of Libya.

Both the detention facilities were used by the 32nd Brigade, which is led by Col. Gadhafi’s Russian-trained son Khamis Gadhafi.

Mr. Okok was arrested in May on suspicion of giving coordinates of the regime’s targets to NATO. The Western alliance has been providing air support to the rebels in their fight against the regime.

He was tortured while in detention. His captors clipped jumper cables to his ears and plugged the other end into a power socket sending powerful jolts of electricity through his body. They then whipped him with copper cables.

Mohammed, a rebel spokesman in Tripoli who only gave his first name, said a close friend of his was among those who died after being tortured by the regime’s loyalists at one of the detention sites.

It is a war crime to kill or torture prisoners.

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About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.

Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.


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