Detainees held by Libya rebels still tortured-UN

Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:42pm GMT

* U.N. rights chief cites lack of oversight

* 8,000 prisoners in Tripoli alone - ambassador

* Unauthorized detention centers condemned

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Detainees from Libya's civil war held by revolutionary brigades continue to be subjected to torture despite efforts by the provisional government to address the issue, the U.N. human rights chief said on Wednesday.

Navi Pillay told the U.N. Security Council she was extremely concerned about thousands of prisoners, most of them accused of being loyalists of the toppled government of Muammar Gaddafi and many from sub-Saharan Africa.

"The lack of oversight by the central authorities creates an environment conducive to torture and ill-treatment," Pillay said. "My staff have received alarming reports that this is happening in places of detention that they have visited."

She said it was urgent that all Libya's detention centers be brought under control of the Ministry of Justice and General Prosecutor's Office and that detainees be screened so that they could be freed or receive a fair trial.

The government that replaced Gaddafi's administration has been struggling to take control of the detainees held by the revolutionary brigades who did the fighting, but has been hampered by lack of prison staff, U.N. officials say.

Ian Martin, the U.N. special envoy for Libya, told Wednesday's council meeting that the Justice Ministry had so far taken over six prisons from the revolutionary brigades.   Continued...

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