In the Libyan capital Tripoli, local authorities have turned a former cement and concrete warehouse into a migrant center where people are tortured and held behind bars without charge. About it wrote TheOutlawOcean project manager and investigative journalist Jan Urbina.
Urbina and his colleagues discovered the prison when they tried to find out the circumstances of the death of a native of Guinea-Bissau Aliu Kande. One of the inmates told them that there were about 1,500 migrants in eight gender-segregated cells, there was only one toilet for every 100 people, and inmates often had to urinate in a bottle of water or defecate in the shower.
Migrants sleep on thin pillows on the floor, the journalist writes. There are not enough of them, so people lie in turns, some during the day, others at night. Twice a day, they are taken outside and shared bowls of food are placed on the ground, while migrants gather in circles to eat, the investigation said.
According to Urbina, employees of the institution beat, torture and rob migrants, and sometimes try to get a ransom for the release of prisoners.
“The guards beat the prisoners who did not obey orders with everything that was at hand: a shovel, a hose, a cable, a branch of a tree. “They will beat anyone for no reason,” Tokam Martin Luther, an elderly Cameroonian who slept on a mat next to Kande’s mother, told me. The detainees speculated that when someone died, the body was thrown behind one of the outer walls of the complex, next to a pile of bricks and plaster. The guards offered freedom to migrants for a fee of twenty five hundred Libyan dinars – about five hundred dollars. During meals, the guards walked around with mobile phones, allowing detainees to call relatives who could pay. But the Kande family could not afford such a ransom. Luther told me, “If you have no one to call, just sit down.”
According to the journalist, there are fifteen such centers for the detention of migrants in Libya, through which tens of thousands of people have passed. The text notes that this system of uncontrolled camps was built with EU money. According to the investigator, Brussels translated them to reduce the flow of people from Africa.
Earlier, human rights defenders have already complained about the inhuman treatment of migrants in this country and about cases of their illegal detention. Last year, the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, noted that responsibility for these arrests lies entirely with the Libyan authorities.