By George Grant.
Tripoli, 27 November:
Twelve alleged homosexuals arrested by one of Tripoli’s most powerful brigades will be handed over to the Ministry of Justice, a senior member of the group has told the Libya Herald.
Members of the Nawasi Brigade’s so-called ‘Private Deterrent Force’ picked the men up at a party in Tripoli’s Ain Zara district on Thursday evening, after receiving complaints of loud music from neighbours in the area.
Fears had been raised for the men’s safety after a picture of the group appeared on the brigade’s Facebook page, accompanied by text describing them as “the third sex”, a reference to their sexuality, and comments threatening to mutilate and execute them.
“Execution will never happen”, said a senior member of the Nawasi brigade today, who requested to remain anonymous. “We are handing them over to the Ministry of Justice”.
The brigadesman said that the primary reason for the men’s arrest was the loud noise they were making that evening, not because they were believed to be homosexual.
“These guys are not straight, but that’s not the main reason we arrested them”, he continued. “The main thing was the big noise they were making to the neighbours, as well as the large amounts of alcohol and hashish we found”.
Asked why threats had been made on Facebook, the Nawasi leader put it down to poor command and control. “Unfortunately, we don’t have a [communications] office; we have about three guys mainly working from home and we can’t always control what’s posted. We are trying to upgrade but we haven’t received a proposal of how to do it”.
Yesterday morning, the Facebook posting had received 315 ‘likes’ along with numerous comments such as “flog them hard”, “let’s see the bullets”, and “ride them like camels”.
Today, however, the page appeared to have been deleted, rerouting automatically back to Facebook’s home page.
Nobody from the Ministry of Justice was available to provide comment on whether the brigade had been in touch with them and agreed to the handover.
The Nawasi brigade is one of Tripoli’s biggest and most influential militias and falls under the authority of the Ministry of Interior.