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Fathi Ali Bashaga: Minister and Torterer? Picture: Wikimedia/Awstishur (CC BY-SA 4.0)

‘My eye was gouged out by the Libyan Interior Minister’

After the terrible ordeal of a ex-detainee Ragab Rahil Abdel-Fadil Al-Magarhy in the Mitiga secret prison in Libya, an appeal was made to the United Nations. 

Published: June 3, 2020, 9:15 am

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    In recent days the international media agenda has been publishing an increasing number of reports connected to the situation in Libya. US officials are especially active in contributing to this topic: they publish reports full of photos and videos of alleged Russian planes, make loud pronouncements about Russian involvement in the Libyan conflict while accusing it of printing fake money to support one of the conflict parties.

    But the objectivity and veracity of these statements made by the US representatives should be carefully reviewed and evaluated. Therefore, it is of particular importance to watch for the reaction of the US concerning an appeal to the United Nations made by Ragab Rahil Abdel-Fadil Al-Magarhy.

    On the June 1, an Arab media outlet Alsaa 24 published the testimony of Ragab Rahil Abdel-Fadil Al-Magarhy – Libyan citizen who was kept at the Mitiga prison located in Tripoli, on the territory of the Government of the National Accord of Libya (the GNA).

    He had been detained there since summer of 2019, and had been suffering from horrendously savage abuse. Physical maltreatment and frequent torture are quite routine in this prison, but certainly the most tragic part of Ragab Rahil Abdel-Fadil Al-Magarhy’s story is that the antagonist who has been persecuting him, is none other than Fathi Ali Bashaga, the GNA Interior Minister.

    According to the testimony of Mr. Al-Magarhy, at a certain date of his detention at the Mitiga prison, he and the other prisoners were led to the head of the prison Abd al-Rauf Kara. All the while, Al-Magarhy was handcuffed with his hands behind his back. What happened next, goes beyond all excesses known to humankind.

    “Fathi Ali Bashaga came up to me, put me on my knees and fixed my head. At that moment I saw a spoon in his hands, which was brought to my face. In the next moment I felt a sharp pain and then lost consciousness. When I recovered my senses, I felt that my eye had been gouged out. The prisoners who were with me at the moment of that torture confirmed that Fathi Ali Bashaga had cut out my eye with the spoon he had in his hands,” Al-Magarhy said at his testimony, adding that he was not provided with any qualified medical care.

    After being released from the Mitiga prison, Mr. Al-Magarhy decided not to appeal for domestic legal protection as he is afraid of the prosecution from the side of the GNA authorities. But the inhumane torment he has had to endure and, even more outrageously, by a personality and a figure of authority who had gouged out his eye, pushed Al-Magarhy to do the best he possibly could in these dire circumstances – to write an official complaint and address it to the UN. He is doing so in the hope that this organization committed to the protection of human rights, will launch a proper investigation into his case and bring to justice all those who were involved in this terrible crime.

    It is hard to tell whether the request by Mr. Al-Magarhy will be heard. But the very least one should expect in such a situation, is an official comment from the USA, EU and other countries who openly express support to the GNA and its authorities.

    Moreover, the GNA is recognized by the UN so this international organization has a certain responsibility or at least a duty of observation regarding the activities of the GNA government.

    Unfortunately, it appears as though UN representatives do not perceive this duty seriously – in September 2019 the UN Human Rights Council refused to even listen to the report on torture of foreign citizens in Libya.

    Sadly, US officials go beyond that – they simply do not notice any torture being committed on the territory of the GNA. Such an attitude, given that there are lots of examples of barbarous and cruel treatments in Libyan prisons, is very far from being fair. Also, it hardly follows the principles of humanity and safeguarding protections for victims, which are stated in the UN Charter and widely promoted by the US all over the world.

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