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Gaddafi forces carrying out disappearance campaign: Amnesty

March 29, 2011 - Tripoli

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has accused the Gaddafi regime of carrying out a campaign of forced disappearances in an attempt to crush opposition to his rule.

Amnesty said it had compiled over 30 cases of people who had disappeared, including political activists and people suspected of being rebel fighters or their supporters.

"It appears that there is a systematic policy to detain anyone suspected of opposition to Colonel Gaddafi's rule, hold them incommunicado, and transfer them to his strongholds in western Libya," The Telegraph quoted Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa director, as saying in a statement.

"There is every reason to believe that these individuals are at serious risk of torture and ill-treatment," he said.

Amnesty International, which has had a fact-finding team in eastern Libya since February 26, called on Gaddafi to halt the alleged campaign of disappearances and to order his forces to abide by international law.

The rights group said disappearances began happening before protests against Gaddafi had turned into armed rebellion.

It further said Gaddafi could be held responsible in an international court for any crimes committed by his forces.

The UN Security Council has referred Libya's violent crackdown on protests to the International Criminal Court.


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