Libya: 6 Brothers Tortured and 2 Summarily Executed by State-Affiliated Militias in Late 2014


On 3 September 2015, Alkarama referred the case of six brothers to both the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions (SR SUMX) and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (SRT). Suspected to have had an active role in the 17 February Revolution, the Elkershini brothers were abducted by militias under the control of the internationally-recognised Government of Tobruk in October 2014. Held incommunicado for weeks, they were seriously tortured, and two of them were summarily executed.

On 17 October 2014, at around 2am, members of the Al Saiqa 21st battalion – known as Libya's elite army unit made of paratroopers and commandos, a militia which joined General Khalifa Haftar's army in 2014 – attacked the Elkershini's house with rocket-propelled grenades as the entire family, including women and children, was sleeping. The six brothers – Ali, Ahmed, Abdullah, Mahmoud, Mustafa and Ibrahim – tried to resist the attack to get women and children out of harm's way. A few hours later, they had to separate but they were finally captured.

Arrest and detention of Ali, Ahmed, Abdullah and Mahmoud, and execution of Ali

Ali, Ahmed, Abdullah and Mahmoud were together when they were taken by men from Al Saiqa forces to the battalion headquarter in Benghazi. There, 34-year-old Ali was shot in the head on the orders of Colonel Abdullah Bohliqa, commander in the battalion, while his brothers were kept in detention for several days under severe torture and ill-treatment. Ahmed, Abdullah and Mahmoud were all injured with a PK machine gun, threatened with death and tortured during the whole period of their incommunicado detention which lasted 38 days.

Arrest and detention of Mustafa and Ibrahim, and execution of Mustafa

Mustafa and Ibrahim were also taken by members of both the 21st battalion and another militia which the family could not identify, to a school named Bader Elkubra in Bersis, a village 50km north of Benghazi. The following day, they were both taken to the village of Al Rajma, 30km east of Benghazi, where they were held together for three days before being separated. There, they were tortured with electric shocks and severely beaten on all parts of their bodies for being from the region of Misrata, a city located 200km east of Tripoli known for its support of the Government of Tripoli and not of the internationally-recognised Government of Tobruk, whose armed forces are headed by General Haftar.

Ibrahim was held incommunicado for over two weeks, during which he was kicked in the eyes and severely injured. Following his release on 3 November 2014, he had to undergo a surgery to remove his left eye. As for Mustafa, he remained in detention and his family didn't hear from him until 6 November 2014, when his body was found dumped in the streets of Al Marj, a town 100km northeast of Benghazi. According to his forensic medical report, his death was due to a gunshot in the head.

Alkarama's action

Alkarama is particularly concerned of the growing violence in Libya, in particular in view of the reason for such violence against the six brothers – their alleged involvement in the 17 February Revolution – and of the fact that the Elkershini brothers are just one of the numerous cases of so-called "revolutionaries" massacred by General Haftar's forces. In October 2014, for instance, four members of a same family had been executed on the same grounds.

Recalling that this is not an isolated case, Alkarama requested both the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions (SR SUMX) and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (SRT) to urge the Libyan authorities to implement their international obligation to open prompt, transparent and independent investigations into this case and to prosecute the perpetrators of the crimes committed against the Elkershini family.

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