Libya: Rights group sheds light on police brutality

Libya: Rights group sheds light on police brutality

A prominent human rights organisation highlighted brutalities carried out by Libya’s law enforcement agency on February 14. 

Amnesty International recently published a report titled, “Libya: Internal Security Agency must end abuses in name of ‘guarding virtue’” and said research found that over the past few months, the Tripoli-based Internal Security Agency (ISA) has been subjecting what they often perceive to be wrongdoers to a range of human rights breaches from arbitrary detention to torture. 

Headquartered in the United Kingdom, Amnesty International is a group whose raison d’etre is ensuring human rights worldwide. The group has in the past raised concerns regarding the persecution of women notably in Iran as well as Israel’s, who the group have repeatedly dubbed an apartheid state much like fellow rights organisations, brutal and historic oppression of Palestinians to name a few. 

Their report found that ISA’s intensified crackdown has targeted individuals believed to have shunned the dominant Madkhali-Salafist ideology in Awqaf, which significantly restricts the rights of women amongst other marginalised groups such as LGBT people and religious minorities. 

READ: Rights group urges Lebanon to free Qaddafi’s son

Bassam Al Kantar, the group’s Libya Researcher, recently said, “The Libyan government’s (in Tripoli) inaction towards ISA’s well-documented crimes under international law, including torture and enforced disappearance, has emboldened them to commit further abuses and has perpetuated a vicious campaign stifling freedom of thought, expression and belief cloaked under guarding virtue. 

“The Libyan authorities must stop the ISA’s vicious campaign against people who peacefully exercise their human rights. They must also ensure the immediate and unconditional release of all those detained in this campaign and the safety of those named in the ‘confessions’. Crucially, the authorities must also launch investigations into the crimes under international law committed by the ISA, which include torture and enforced disappearances, with a view of bringing those responsible to justice.” 

Not only is the group targeting individuals for dissent, human rights groups are in the firing line also. In March 2023, Tanweer, an organisation campaigning for women and gay rights, was shut down following numerous threats to a significant number of their members. 

It was also reported in 2021 that a Christian man was swiftly banged up for accusations that he was attempting to convert the wider public to his religious beliefs. 

In response to the report, ISA denied any brutality and claimed that Amnesty International were “spreading fake news”.

Amnesty International 


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