Tripoli, 16 April:
Misrata Local Council has denied claims that its revolutionaries had tortured some 3,000 prisoners and forced the people of . . .[restrict]the nearby town of Tawergha to flee because they had supported Qaddafi forces during the Misrata siege last year.
Just over a week ago, New York-based Human Rights Watch sent a letter to Misrata’s civic and military leaders saying that they could be held responsible for crimes committed by forces under their command and indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. It claimed the torture was ongoing.
Misrata officials said that the number of prisoners in the city was much less than the figure reported by Human Rights Watch. They also said they were happy to invite national and international organisations to visit prisons in the city. They added that the local security forces were willing to hand prisoners over to the justice ministry at any time agreed with Ali Humaida Ashour, the Minister of Justice.
Misrata deputy council leader Mohamed Al-Jamel added that the treatment of prisoners in Misrata was relatively good at the present time and that they were being held in proper prisons run by the civil authorities. He also said that a security committee had been appointed to supervise such prisons and prevent any violation of civil rights in them.
The local council also stated that if there were breaches and violations, then they were committed by individuals, not planned by brigades and it could not be held responsible for such violations.
Al-Jamal also denied the ethnic cleansing of people from Tawergha, saying that they could return back to their hometown, While reconciliation between the two towns was probably impossible at the moment, he said that there needed to be some alternative solution for the Tawergha people.