By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 5 August 2015:
Amnesty International says that Libya is suffering an epidemic of kidnappings, with 378 people having . . .[restrict]vanished without trace in the past year.
In its report, Vanished off the face of the earth, published yesterday, Amnesty says Libyans are being abducted in unprecedented numbers.
It says reasons include political beliefs, or membership of a tribal or political community, as well as kidnappings “carried out to order” as a business.
Amid the collapse of the Libya state, Amnesty says 49 foreign nationals are among those captured, including 21 Christians kidnapped and executed by ISIS near Sirte this year.
“Civilians, including children, are usually abducted from their homes, workplaces, gas stations, checkpoints and the street,” the report says. “Among those abducted are journalists, activists, members of the judiciary targeted for their activities, public officials, civil servants aid workers and foreign nationals abducted on account of their religeon, race or nationality.”
The 378 figure refers only to those whose fate is unknown, coming from a total figure of 626 reported missing to the Libyan Red Crescent. The majority of kidnappings, 508, were in Benghazi, where Islamist militants were blamed for a systematic campaign to rid the city of activists and prominent people prior to the Operation Dignity military campaign launched against them by General Khalifa Hafter forces last year.
It cites the case of rights activist Abdel Moez Bandun, aged 39, who had campaigned against lawless militias. He was kidnapped from his car parked outside his house in the Salahaddine area of Tripoli on 24 July last year, a time in which the capital was in the grip of heavy fighting between Libya Dawn and Zintani militias. “His fate and whereabouts have been unknown,” says the report. “Amnesty International believes that he was abducted in relation to his activities, which amount merely to the exercise of his right to freedom of expression.”
“Amid rampant lawlessness chaos and the proliferation of arms, ordinary people have increasingly taken the law into their own hands,” says the report. “Supporters of each side of the conflict have also carried out numerous reprisals involving abductions, unlawful killings and attacks against civilian property.”
The report expresses the hope that the UN-mediated peace process can produce a unity government which will restore the rule of law.