By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 17 October 2014:
The organisation Human Rights Solidarity-Libya (HRS) has condemned Khalifa Hafter’s recent televised address and the TV . . .[restrict]channels that broadcast it, calling it a “hate speech and an incitement to violence”.
The Geneva-based organisation warned the television channels that broadcast Hafter’s speech – specifically naming Libya First channel – that they could be found guilty of war crimes. Referencing the indictment of a TV station and a radio station on war crimes in Rwanda, HRS inferred that they could be found complicit and held responsible.
In his pre-recorded, televised speech Hafter called on residents of Benghazi to provide information on the addresses of members of the Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council (BRSC), its fighters and their relatives. He also called on the people of Benghazi to take up arms and to rise up against the terrorists in one final push to re-take the city.
According to HRS, this led to the deaths of four members of one family in the Buhdeima district of Benghazi, “at the hands of a mob” on Wednesday.
A group of armed men reportedly kidnapped Abdel Salem Sweidi and his son while they were outside of their home and later killed them. HRS sources also report that two more of Sweidi’s sons were subsequently gunned down in front of their mother and sisters while the sons were trying to defend their home.
Another son of Sweidi’s was killed fighting for Ansar Al-Sharia in Buatni in August. Some believe that the reason Sweidi’s family was targeted Wednesday is because Sweidi’s son fought for Ansar Al-Sharia and was a known associate of the BRSC.
HRS says this is an indicator of the strategy of Hafter and his forces to target the “relatives of the fighters who are standing as obstacles to attempts to control the city’s population of about 900,000 people. ”
(The Libya Herald reported that the Sweidi family was targeted because it was believed the Sweidis, known supporters of Ansar Al-Sharia and BRSC, had been involved in a number of assassinations in Buhdeima and its surroundings. It has also been alleged that one of the sons, Mustafa Sweidi, played a role in the murder of Intisar Al-Ojali and her 17-year-old son earlier this week, with the four men being murdered in retaliation.)
In the statement, HRS head Khaled Saleh stated that the human rights organisation was closely following the escalation of violence in Libya. He expressed concern about the “weakness of the central authorities and the absence of law enforcement institutions”, as well as the “indiscriminate shelling and air strikes” by forces allied with Hafter.
Subsequently, Saleh said HRS would submit reports to the UN Security Council recommending a broadening and enforcement of sanctions such as freezing of assets and travel bans for all who are guilty of war crimes, whether directly or through incitement to violence.”
In an interview with the Libya Herald today, Operation Dignity spokesperson Mohamed Al-Hejazi, for his part, said supporters of the government should refrain from attacking the homes of those they suspected to be working with BRSC.