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Pressure over Libya security reform

The fate of detainees held since the end of Libya’s civil war is of “considerable gravity,” the UN said yesterday, and the Government is facing growing public pressure to rebuild and reform the country’s security authorities.

UN special envoy for Libya Tarek Mitri told the UN Security Council that after an attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi on September 11, which killed the US Ambassador Chris Stevens, about 30,000 Libyans took to the streets to demonstrate on September 21.

Mitri said the demonstration showed “public pressure is mounting on the Government to act decisively and quickly to build and reform the state security sector institutions”.

“While this large outpouring of public support underscores the urgency of the issue, it provides the new Government with the opportunity to move swiftly and decisively in advancing security sector reform,” he said.

US President Barack Obama and other US officials have acknowledged that the attack was a “terrorist” act by militants with suspected links to al-Qaeda affiliates or sympathisers.

Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule collapsed when his forces fled Tripoli in August 2011 and the last of the fighting in Libya’s nine-month civil war ended that October when he was captured and killed by rebels.

Thousands of detainees, many of whom are sub-Saharan Africans suspected of fighting for Gaddafi’s government, are still being held in detention centres across the country, some operated by the Government and some by revolutionary brigades. The UN human rights agency and aid groups have accused the brigades of torturing detainees. (AFP)

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