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Human rights organisations cast doubt on claims of mass rape in Libya

June 24, 2011 - London

Amnesty International has questioned claims that Libya's ruler Colonel Muammar Gaddafi ordered rape as weapon of war, as no solid evidence of the abuse claims levelled against Gaddafi's supporters has been found.

Human rights organisations have cast doubt on claims of mass rape and other abuses perpetrated by forces loyal to Gaddafi, The Independent reports.

Nato leaders, opposition groups and the media have produced a stream of stories since the start of the insurrection on February15, claiming the Gaddafi regime has ordered mass rapes, used foreign mercenaries and employed helicopters against civilian protesters.

An investigation by Amnesty International has failed to find evidence for these human rights violations and in many cases has discredited or cast doubt on them.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week said she was "deeply concerned" that Gaddafi's troops were participating in widespread rape in Libya.

Donatella Rovera, senior crisis response adviser for Amnesty, who was in Libya for three months after the start of the uprising, said that "we have not found any evidence or a single victim of rape or a Doctor Who knew about somebody being raped."

She stresses this does not prove that mass rape did not occur but there is no evidence to show that it did.

Liesel Gerntholtz, head of women's rights at Human Rights Watch, which also investigated the charge of mass rape, said: "We have not been able to find evidence."


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