UK protestors mark 13th anniversary of Libyan prison massacre

30.6.09

A protestor holds up a poster outside the Libyan embassy in London on the 13th anniversary of the Abu Salim prison massacre, June 29, 2009Befriending dictators, as the UK and US have been doing with Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi since British Prime Minister Tony Blair made an official visit to Libya in March 2004, brings with it its own set of unprincipled compromises. In Libya’s case, the resultant hypocrisy has been starkly delineated. Although reviled as a sponsor of international terrorism for decades, Gaddafi was instantly transformed into an ally in the “War on Terror,” when Blair stated that he “had been struck by how Colonel Gaddafi wanted to make ‘common cause with us against al-Qaeda, extremists and terrorism.’”

The British Prime Minister conveniently ignored the fact that, while he was meeting Gaddafi, it was revealed (as the BBC put it) that “Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell had signed a deal worth up to £550m for gas exploration rights off the Libyan coast,” and also failed to mention that, as a result of this new relationship, the UK’s main involvement with Libya on issues related to terrorism would apparently focus not on al-Qaeda, but on exiles opposed to Gaddafi’s regime, as the British government moved to deport a handful of Libyan dissidents back to their homeland on the basis of secret evidence that was not disclosed to them.

The government was subsequently thwarted by two courts: SIAC, the Special Immigrations Appeal Court, which deals with cases related to terrorism, deportation and the use of secret evidence, and the Court of Appeal. In October 2008, the Court of Appeal upheld an earlier ruling by SIAC (in October 2007), in which the secret terror court ruled that two suspects — alleged to be members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a group dedicated to removing Gaddafi from power — would be at risk of torture and a “complete” denial of a fair trial if returned to Libya. The Court of Appeal affirmed SIAC’s ruling that Gaddafi could not be relied upon to abide by a “memorandum of understanding” signed with the UK in 2005 and supposed to guarantee that returned prisoners would be treated humanely, and also affirmed the court’s conclusion that torture is “extensively used against political opponents among whom Islamist extremists and LIFG members are the most hated by the Libyan Government, the Security Organisations and above all by Colonel Gaddafi.” SIAC also noted that the incommunicado detention of political opponents without trial, often for many years, “is a disfiguring feature of Libyan justice and punishment.”

Although the British government did not appeal the ruling and abandoned plans to deport Libyan terror suspects, the Home Office has continued to hold the men under control orders, a form of house arrest that, as the Law Lords ruled recently, breaches Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to a fair trial.

As a result of this cynical manoeuvring on the part of the British government, official criticism of Libya has come to an end. In the latest Foreign and Commonwealth Office profile of Libya, no mention is made of human rights issues (unlike other countries — see, for example, Morocco), and in its latest report on human rights (PDF), the FCO did not include Libya in its study of 20 “Major countries of concern,” and also failed to include Algeria, Jordan and Tunisia, with whom it has also signed “memoranda of understanding,” or, in Algeria’s case, an even less binding “exchange of letters.” This is in spite of the fact that, as Human Rights Watch noted in October 2008, “All the governments in question have well documented records of torture and ill-treatment, particularly of persons suspected of involvement in terrorism or radical Islamism.”

On Monday the extent of the British government’s hypocrisy regarding human rights was highlighted in the starkest manner possible as Libyan exiles and human rights campaigners marked the 13th anniversary of a prison massacre in Libya which involved the cold-blooded murder of at least 1,200 prisoners, and which, had it occurred elsewhere, would surely be held up as a particularly vile example of state-sanctioned mass murder.

Protestors outside the Libyan embassy in London on the 13th anniversary of the Abu Salim prison massacre, June 29, 2009

Protestors outside the Libyan embassy in London on the 13th anniversary of the Abu Salim prison massacre, June 29, 2009

Protestors outside the Libyan embassy in London on the 13th anniversary of the Abu Salim prison massacre, June 29, 2009.

The Abu Salim prison massacre, June 29, 1996

In an account of the massacre published in 2007, an eye-witness to the events began by explaining that the Abu Salim prison in Tripoli (also known as Abu Saleem), where the massacre took place (and where the CIA’s most notorious “ghost prisoner,” Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, recently died in mysterious circumstances), had been overcrowded for eight years before the massacre took place, after “Islamic groups became more politically active and faced a brutal, large-scale crackdown from the various Security apparatuses.” The witness explained that, in 1996, the prison held between 1,600 and 1,700 prisoners, even though there were just 112 cells, and that, in addition to the overcrowding, prisoners were forced to endure “unsanitary conditions, scarcity of food, lack of any medical attention, and inhumane treatment by the guards.”

Conditions at the prison apparently grew worse after a number of prison breaks in 1995 and early 1996. As the witness explained,

All visitations were cancelled, and all prisoners’ belongings, including clothes, were confiscated. Prisoners were allowed to have nothing more than their prison uniforms, mats to sleep on and two blankets … Penalties increased, prisoners were beaten every time they walked out to get their meals, quality of food, when available, deteriorated even further, garbage was not removed, and prisoners were forced to live with backed-up and overflowing sewers. The difference between life and death became very blurry. Many attempts were made to meet with the warden to discuss these conditions to no avail. At that point some of the prisoners decided to try a different method; they decided to protest.

According to the eye-witness, and to Hussein al-Shafa’i, another eye-witness interviewed by Human Rights Watch in 2004 and 2006, the events leading up to the massacre began sometime between 4.30 and 4.40 pm on June 28, when prisoners in one cell overpowered a guard — “push[ing] him from behind [so that] he fell hard on his face, hitting the concrete floor” — and immediately set about liberating other prisoners. Within a short amount of time, according to al-Shafa’i, who was held in Abu Salim from 1988 to 2000, and who was working in the prison’s kitchen at the time, hundreds of prisoners from three of the prison’s eight cell blocks had been set free, but as they emerged into the prison’s courtyard, guards on the roof began shooting. According to both witnesses, 17 prisoners were either wounded or killed as a result.

Within half an hour, as al-Shafa’i described it, senior security officials and “a contingent of security personnel” arrived at the prison. Negotiations then took place, and, according to al-Shafa’i, “who said he observed and overheard the negotiations from the kitchen, the prisoners asked … for clean clothes, outside recreation, better medical care, family visits, and the right to have their cases heard before a court, because many of the prisoners were in prison without trial.” One of the officials, Abdullah Sanussi, who is married to the sister of Gaddafi’s wife, “said he would address the physical conditions, but the prisoners had to return to their cells” and release two hostages they had taken. One was released, but the other, mentioned above, had died from his injuries.

As al-Shafa’i described it, security personnel then “took the bodies of those killed and sent the wounded for medical care.” He added that “[a]bout 120 other sick prisoners boarded three buses, ostensibly to go to the hospital,” although “he saw the buses take the prisoners to the back of the prison.” The other eye-witness had a slightly different explanation. He said that

Those who were accused of belonging to opposition groups were ordered to get off the buses. All others were taken outside the prison section to a different part of the compound. They were lined up and shot, execution-style, by young conscripts whose choices were shoot, or stand with them to be shot. This was later reported by an officer, who defied orders that night and was able to escape.

Around 5 o’clock the following morning, according to al-Shafa’i, “security forces moved some of the prisoners between the civilian and military sections of the prison,” and by 9 am “they had forced hundreds of prisoners from blocks 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 into different courtyards. They moved the low-security prisoners in block 2 to the military section and kept the prisoners in blocks 7 and 8, with individual cells, inside.”

Again, the other eye-witness had a slightly different explanation. He said that the prisoners in cell block 2, “and all other prisoners accused of opposition activities were taken out of their cells and into the courtyard,” and that “[t]he same happened to cell blocks 1, 3, 4, 5, 6,” and added that the prisoners in blocks 7 and 8 — who numbered approximately 60 prisoners — were not removed because their “cell locks could not be broken.”

Both eye-witnesses, however, agreed on what happened next. In al-Shafa’i’s words, “At 11:00 a grenade was thrown into one of the courtyards. I did not see who threw it but I am sure it was a grenade. I heard an explosion and right after a constant shooting started from heavy weapons and Kalashnikovs from the top of the roofs. The shooting continued from 11:00 until 1:35.” He added that it was a “special unit” of six men that conducted the massacre, and that, at 2 pm, the forces used pistols to “finish off those who were not dead.”

Al-Shafa’i also said that the security forces killed “around 1,200 people,” explaining, as Human Rights Watch put it, that he “calculated this figure by counting the number of meals he prepared prior to and after the incident.”

He added that, the following day, “security forces removed the bodies with wheelbarrows” and “threw the bodies into trenches — 2 to 3 meters deep, one meter wide and about 100 meters long — that had been dug for a new wall.” He also said, “I was asked by the prison guards to wash the watches that were taken from the bodies of the dead prisoners and were covered in blood.”

The other witness largely corroborated this explanation. He put the number of the dead at 1,170, and also explained that looting of the corpses had taken place. “Most of the guards rushed to strip the dead bodies of their watches, rings, glasses, and search their pockets,” he wrote. “They took everything they could find. They also confiscated all the clothes, blankets, radios, which belonged to the dead, and divided them among themselves. The warden’s share was all the fans, space heaters, and other electronic devices. He then sold these items to his guards, who in turn sold them to prisoners brought in after 1996.”

However, the witness disputed Hussein al-Shafa’i’s claim that the bodies had been buried in the prison. “The bodies could easily be discovered within the compound,” he wrote, adding, “The regime is too smart to implicate itself.” According to his version of events, two refrigerated trucks — one belonging to the Meat Transportation Company, the other to the Marine Fisheries Company — took corpses away on two successive days, and on the third, when, “because of the sun and the heat, the stench of the corpses became unbearable,” a large container was brought instead, “and they used a forklift to load the remaining corpses into the container.” He added, “This continued through Tuesday, but the stench persisted despite the disinfectants and chemicals they used inside and outside the prison.  Residents of the Abu Salim district know and remember this well.”

No justice: the aftermath of the massacre

Crucially, for the first five years after the massacre, the regime dealt with its aftermath by denying that it took place. It was not until 2001, as Human Rights Watch described it, that the authorities “began to inform some families with a relative in Abu Salim that their family member had died, although they did not provide the body or details on the cause of death.” Libyan Human Rights Solidarity, a Libyan group based in Switzerland, stated in 2006 that the authorities had notified 112 families that a relative held in Abu Salim had died, and, in addition, 238 families said that they had lost contact with a relative who was held in the prison.

People holding up photos of their missing relatives at a protest to mark the 12th anniversary of the Abu Salim prison massacre, on June 17, 2008, in Benghazi

People holding up photos of their missing relatives at a protest to mark the 12th anniversary of the Abu Salim prison massacre, on June 17, 2008, in Benghazi.

It was not until April 2004 — just after Tony Blair’s bridge-building mission to Tripoli — that Colonel Gaddafi “publicly acknowledged that killings had taken place in Abu Salim, and said that prisoners’ families have the right to know what took place,” but despite this, the Libyan government has continued to deny that “any crimes took place,” according to Human Rights Watch. In May 2005, the organization explained that the head of the Internal Security Agency told them that “prisoners had captured some guards during a meal and taken weapons from the prison cache,” and that “[p]risoners and guards died as security personnel tried to restore order.” Adding that the government had opened an investigation on the order of the Secretary of Justice, he claimed, “When the committee concludes its work, because it has already started, we’ll give a detailed report answering all questions.”

Three years later, no detailed report has been forthcoming, and last year, when Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, claimed that a “genuine” investigation was underway, and that “those found guilty will be punished,” observers responded by wondering what kind of political machinations the announcement was meant to disguise.

On this shameful anniversary, the British government’s relationship with Libya stands in marked contrast to that of the United Nations. In October 2007, the UN Human Rights Committee “found Libya responsible for torture and other serious human rights violations” in the case of Edriss El-Hassy, who was arbitrarily arrested in 1995. The Committee based its decision on the fact that El-Hassy “was detained in prolonged incommunicado detention” and was “tortured and then disappeared,” and because, “[a]lthough it is probable that he was summarily executed in the notorious prison massacre … the Libyan authorities have refused to acknowledge this fact.”

For the majority of those whose relatives disappeared, the similarities with El-Hassy’s case are striking, and, in addition, even those who have received some sort of notification from the government about the deaths of their relatives are appalled that they have been provided with so little information, and that the bodies have not been returned to them.

A typical example is the family of Ibrahim al-Awani, who was seized from his family’s home in July 1995 and was never heard from again. Three years ago, on the tenth anniversary of the massacre, his brother, Farag al-Awani, who lives in Switzerland, said that in 2002 members of the Internal Security Agency “told the family that Ibrahim had died in a Tripoli hospital due to sickness.” A death certificate stated that he had died on July 3, 2001, but no cause of death was provided, and, “[d]espite repeated requests, the authorities never returned the body, as required under Libyan law.” As Human Rights Watch explained, “It is unclear if Ibrahim al-Awani died in the June 1996 incident or at another time.” Farag al-Awani’s response to this ongoing mystery was simple — and reflects the concerns of everyone who lost a relative in the massacre on June 29, 1996. “We just want to know what happened and to have the body back,” he said.

People holding up photos of their missing relatives at a protest to mark the 12th anniversary of the Abu Salim prison massacre, on June 17, 2008, in Benghazi

People holding up photos of their missing relatives at a protest to mark the 12th anniversary of the Abu Salim prison massacre, on June 17, 2008, in Benghazi.

Note: The photos of people holding up photos of their missing relatives are from the website Libya-alyoum. The other photos were provided by one of the protestors outside the Libyan embassy in London on June 29, 2009.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed, and see here for my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009.

42 Responses

  1. Libyan woman says...

    Dear Andy, thank you for your support to the libyan people. We are now at a time when gaddafi succeeded to buy presidents’ and governments’ conscience. unfortunately, only few people like you can talk about such a tragedy, and fear no prosecution or accusation of being a terrorist. gaddafi managed to get back many of the libyans who opposed his brutal regime, with the help of the likes of berlusconi, tony blair, the spanish and the french president and the list goes on. i wouldn’t be surprised if even President Obama follows suit, particularly after the reception of al-motassem, gaddafi’s son by ms hilary clinton. as things are now, the libyan dictator has succeded in getting the support that he needs by the west and also the propaganda of blatant lies they spread by their media to their people, in return he is bribing and generously paying these governments by the countless business deals while the libyan cities and towns look as if they were struck by some type of disaster. leave alone the general feeling of betrayal that the libyans feel from the whole world. thank you again, we surely need voices like yours to help showing the world the libyan goverment true face.

  2. London Demonstration Attendant. says...

    After a successful demonstration in London yesterday outside the Libyan Embassy it was very pleaseing to read your report on an issue that nobody else seems willing to cover. Its refresing to have our voices heard as the terrible acts of injustice that take place in Libya usually go unreported. Thank you.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks to both of you. I was unable to attend, due to an illness in the family, but I was with you in spirit, and was anxious to record the anniversary, and to do what I can to insist that Western foreign policy (and, let’s be specific, that of the UK) should not blithely involve such hypocrisy, as it does in the case of the new relationship with Gaddafi, or at least should not be allowed to stand without being severely challenged.

    I wish I could do more …

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    This from Lucinda Lavelle, the Secretary of the British Libyan Solidarity Campaign:

    Hi Andy

    That is fantastic! I was on the protest yesterday — Many thanks for this we will send it out to our supporters.

  5. Abobkr says...

    Dear Andy, thank you for your support to the libyan people

  6. Abdelhafiz Bensrieti M.D. says...

    Dear Mr. Worthington,

    Thank you so much for exposing the crimes of the Gaddhafi regime. The plight of the Libyan people has been ignored by the western media for the past 40 years. Please continue to shine the spot light on Gaddhafi and his allies. The Libyan people will never forget that you stood with them against their oppressor.

    Sincerely,
    Abdelhafiz Bensrieti M.D.

  7. Mohamed Binwasil says...

    Thank Mr. Andy Worthington for your support to my people. Abu Slaim is not the only crime committed by Gaddafi against the Libyan people, since Colonel Muammar Gaddafi seized power through a military coup in September 1969 the Libyan have been subjected to dictatorial rule. Since then, the Libyan people faced various types of repression and oppression, through a variety of actions, the first of which was the abolition of the Constitution, the Libyan headquarters in 1951 under the auspices of the United Nations, the resolution of all the constitutional institutions that existed then. Then Gaddafi engaged in the practice of repressive dictatorship lasted over forty years, including serious and numerous violations of human rights, including the suppression of fundamental freedoms of citizens and the confiscation of their property and depriving them of their civil rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

  8. Melad says...

    Great coverage of Abu Salem prison massacre. Hope one day the killers face the justice.

  9. Moharm Mohammed says...

    West is west of Democratic hypocrite, does not pay any attention to the suffering of other people by their executors, Gaddafi had issued orders for the murder and elimination of 1200 innocent human beings, where is the West and the humanitarian appeal for human rights? or is the national interests that comes first, we as libyans can understandand and accpet that west seeks to achieve its interests but not at the expense of our freedom. Thank you Andy on your coverage of this anniversary, Journalists such as yourselves are the owners of the right of conscience

  10. Hussein Al Kheyari says...

    Dear Andy
    I am thanking you on behalf of every libyan who loves his country Libya. A profession like yours needs people like you who report what he sees fit to report without undermining his/her profession. I lives in the U.K. now for 30 years, and i really thought that democracy stems from the U.K., but to my dismay when Mr. Blair took power, i found that Hepocracy stems from here instead. God help the British people. Thank you again

  11. Yusuf Ali says...

    Many thanks for this excellent article which highlights the sufferings of Libyan people, especially those families who lost their loved ones in Libyan prisons. Libyans living inside their homeland are suffering in silence; the continuation of publishing such articles will therefore reveal the nature of such an extreme regime. It will also keep people around the world well informed about what’s going on in Great Jamahiriya!

  12. ali says...

    go to hill

  13. Ali il-masree says...

    i am an egyptian who lives abroad but was living in Libya at the time of abu sleem masacre.. first i would like to thank Mr Shafi for his braveness, i saw the witness Mr il shafi on one of the satelite stations about 5 years ago,, that was my first time to hear the number 1200, i have heard rumors about masacre taken place in abu sleem prison but was my first to know the number was 1200. after watching al jazeera news two days ago and saw the families of the victims i knew the number was even higher than 1200. thank you Andy for being a man of conscious

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    With the exception of the commenter at 12, above, who, I presume, was not advising me to take a stroll in the countryside but was telling me to go to hell, I’d like to thank all those above who wrote to thank me for writing the article: Abobkr, Abdelhafiz Bensrieti M.D., Mohamed Binwasil, Melad, Moharm Mohammed, Hussein Al Kheyari, Yusuf Ali and Ali il-masree.

    I appreciate your support (and I’m glad you appreciate mine) and I can only reiterate that I wish this shameful anniversary had been reported elsewhere, and that I will continue to highlight the hypocrisy of Western involvement with the Libyan dictator, in the hope that more people will pay attention and will — perhaps one day — demand more than lip service to human rights from politicians whose only concern is securing lucrative business deals.

  15. Naji Elfallah says...

    Hi, Andy

    What a great article. Looking forward for your continued interest.
    Thanks for all your efforts.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Naji also sent me another message:

    Hi Andy,
    I’d like to thank you for your support and efforts you made in highlighting our struggle by producing this brilliant article. I think the comments made about it shows how splendid it was and how much it was appreciated by all concerned, apart from the Number 12 commentor who is most definitely a regime personnel.
    thanx
    Regards
    Naji

  17. wattany100 says...

    DEAR ANDY :

    THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO WRITE ABOUT THIS CRIME . YESTERDAY I READ AN ARTICLE SAYING THAT THE LIBYAN GOVERNMENT IS TRYING TO CLOSE THIS CASE BY ACCUSING 2 ,( KHIRI KHLID , AND AMER EL MSLATY) . BOTH ARE DEAD NOW . IN ORDER TO PUSH THE FINGERS THAT ARE POINTING TO GADDAFI AWAY IN ANOTHER DIRECTION . THEY FORGET THAT THIS 2 CRIMINALS WORKED FOR THE LIBYAN SECURITY , WHICH PROVIDE SAFETY FOR GADDAFI AND HIS REGIME . THEY COMMITTED THE CRIME RESPONDING TO GADDAFI’S ORDERS. THE LIBYAN GOVERNMENT NEVER QUESTIONED THEM OR HELD THEM RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CRIME AND WAITED TILL THEY PASSED A WAY BY NORMAL DEATH. SIR , THIS CRIME IS NOT JUST AGAINST LIBAN BUT AGAINST HUMANITY , THERE FOR PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE IN HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITY SHOULD STAND WITH US . UNFORTUNATELY , GHAFDAI IS GETTING THE SUPPORT NOT THE LIBYAN PEOPLE FROM THE WORLD .WHAT A SHAME!

  18. Rashid Bseikri says...

    Dear Mr. Andy Worthington,
    Thank you for uncovering the truth of the Abu Salim massacre to the British citizen and the world as whole. This massacre also uncovered the ultimate hypocrisy of western governments when it comes to developing counties citizens’ human rights violations.

    If this massacre happened in any country that the western governments have a conflict of interest with its leader or that leader did not submit, obey and implement their conditions and orders – like what Qaddafi did after he saw what happened to Iraq and its leader-, then the western governments will be condemning that regime, imposing sanction though the united nation, isolating that country and may even go to war with it, but because of Gaddafi’s total submission to the west and opening the coffers of the Libyan wealth to them and their multi corporations and Qaddafi’s surrender of Libya’s sovereignty to them, the western governments then will have no problem dealing with and promoting such a brutal dictator.

    Qaddafi’s agreement with the west was based on this; “do not interfere with the way I brutally rule Libyans’ daily life, do not criticize the wide speared of human rights violations and corruption, accept me as an ally and protect my brutal regime. In turn I will do what ever the west ask of me”

    Again, thank you Mr. Worthington for your support to the Libyan people through your article. Your article does display the unbiased, impartial and true professional journalism.

  19. Libyan Citizen says...

    Your article has brought to the attention of the World the cruel realisation of the lack of Human Rights in Libya. Thank you for your hard work in preparing this article for the 13th Anniversary of the Libyan Prison Massacre.

    The Regime in Libya has committed many crimes against humanity and should be prosecuted by the International Community, to fulfil the dream of the Libyan people who are in severe pain at the loss of their loved ones.

    The Libyan people demonstrated in Libya, Britain and Sweden to show their solidarity with the families of victims of the massacre and to condem the terrorist act of the Regime in Libya.

    Justice has to be served for the Libyan people and the Regime be brought to Trial for crimes against Humanity.

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks to wattany100, Rashid Bseikri and Libyan Citizen. Again, I can only say that it was my pleasure to try and help to expose the lies of the Libyan regime, and the hypocrisy of the West. I am honoured that so many have written to me, and will continue to do what I can to report an under-reported — or unreported — story that affects the lives of so many people.

    In addition, I was disturbed by wattany100’s comment about how the Gaddafi regime is trying to close the book on the massacre by blaming it on two security officials who are now dead. Disturbed but not surprised, I should add …

  21. wattany100 says...

    DEAR ANDY

    YOU ARE DISTURBED BY MY COMMENTS ,DO YOU KNOW HOW THE FAMILIES OF ( 1200) VICTIM FEEL?
    DO YOU KNOW HOW THE REST OF THE LIBYAN PEOPLE FEEL ? WHEN THE REST OF THE WORLD IS WATCHING? WHEN COUNTRIES LIKE ITALY , ENGLAND , USA AND FRANC ARE WELCOMING HIM AND SUPPORTING HIM AND MAKING EVERY BODY BELIEVES THAT GADDAFI MIGHT CHANGE OR BECOME HUMAN . 21ST CENTURY JOKE .

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    I meant only that I found it disturbing that, after 13 years, Gaddafi is trying to claim that the murder of 1200 men can be put aside, because he has chosen to pin the blame on two people who are no longer alive. That’s enormously cynical, but, again, not surprising.

    Everything that I have written has been in an attempt to empathize with those who lost relatives 13 years ago …

  23. omar ali says...

    Thankyou Mr Andy, In this world there are still innocent people who think about the libyan human write.and you are one of them people who are supporting the libyan freedom. My family and I we all say thankyou very much for what you have done because we are indipendent people who have no one to defend ,but are selfs.

  24. 13th anniversary of Libyan prison massacre says...

  25. libyan woman says...

    Dear Andy, your message is clear, and all of us appreciate your efforts, including Mr Wattany 100. this man (Mr Wattany 100) has written a lot in Arabic about the suffering of the Libyan people, and we are all bitter about the new world perception of the dictator. Despite the fact that all know his involvement in most terrorist organizations of the world, he is now portrayed as the wise man the world. as things are going now, we will not be surprised to see him receiving the Nobel Prize of peace in the near future. Mind you, it has not been long since he planted a bomb in Pan Am flight 113 that exploded on Lockerbie, another bomb in the German pub, a bomb in a Boeing 1103 plane in Libya, killing 156 passenges (have you ever heard about this? I doubt it!) , he sent his men to hang young college students in universities and main city squares to terrorize the country as whole, he also, somehow, was also behind infecting more than 400 children in a hospital in libya with HIV virus. he led an unjust war at the Libyan-Chad borders in which we lost 10,000 young Libyan men, many of which just lost their way back in the desert and were left to die from hunger and thirst, and their bodies were never recovered… and many more… my memory can’t recall every crime he did. Now he is named the king of the kings, he is the head of the african union and is the most welcome African president in the EU, USA and Russia! He is boasting and has an enormous sense of victory..the victory of the evil over the good, and isn’t he right? couldn’t be more ironic!

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks Omar Ali, and thanks also to libyan woman for such a succinct appraisal of Gaddafi’s crimes, and for explaining Mr Wattany 100’s position. I was trying only to make sure that I hadn’t been misunderstood, and I understand very clearly Mr Wattany’s passionate response to the long, bitter suffering of the Libyan people.

  27. Mohamed Altajouri says...

    Many thanks, Andy, for the coverage. It’s time for the dictators of today to disappear forever and become extinct. Human rights and peace are values we all share. Democracy and freedom are deserved by all humanity.

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    I also received the following message from film-maker Mohamed Maklouf, whose excellent documentaries were recently shown at the BFI:
    http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2009/06/21/refugee-week-at-the-bfi-films-by-libyan-exile-mohamed-maklouf/

    GREAT WORK ANDY.

    It seems lots of people wrote to you about the article.
    I first put it on this Libyan site :

    http://www.libya-watanona.com/

    THANKS AGAIN.

  29. Shaban Elgale, Sweden says...

    Hi Mr Andy,
    Thank you for your support to the libyan people for their struggle against the dictator Gaddafi.

  30. Naji el Faitouri says...

    Thank you Sir for your interest in this issue. As you might be aware that we have been suffering under this tyrant for forty years with no intrest from the western media. You are one of the first jurnalists who hi lighted the plite of the libyan people. Thank you for this wonderful work, which will have a good impact on all Libyans who suffer from injustice for the last four decades. Thank you very much
    my best regards

  31. Rashid A. Kikhia says...

    Mr. Worthington, I appreciate the time you took to write this amazing article, I am not saying this because I am Libyan, but as a human been we all have to stand for the right of speech and to live a life in dignity.
    The information you have is very impressive, and you writing a “state of the art” and I hope all writers should stand for the voice of the people.
    Wish you all the best

  32. OSAMA EL HUDAREY says...

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH ANDY FOR THE GREAT ARTICLE WHICH COVER THE 13TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MASSACRE OF ABU SALIM PRISON IN 1996 ,ALSO I THANK YOU FOR EXPOSING THE CRIMES WHICH GADDAFI DONE TO THE LIBYAN PEOPLE ,
    WE ALL LIBYANS INDIVIDUALS AND POLITICAL PARTIES AND ORGANIZATION DOING ALL OUR EFFORTS TO EXPOSE AND BRING THE ATTENTION TO WHOLE WORLD THE CRIMES AND THE BAD HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD THAT GADDAFI DONE IN LIBYA THROUGH THE 40 YEARS IN POWER .
    WE ALL LIBYAN PEOPLE INSIDE THE COUNTRY AND OUTSIDE WILL NEVER STOP EXPOSING WHAT HAS GADDAFI AND HIS RIGIME DESTROYED OUR LIFE .AND WE WILL RISE ALL THESE MATTERS UP UNTIL WE PROSECUTE GADDAFI AND HIS RIGIME AND GET RID OFF HIM .AND TO DO THIS WE NEED YOU WRITERS AND JOURNALIST TO SUPPORT US IN OUR STRUGGLE TO GET RID OF GADDAFI AND ESTAPLISH DEMOCRACY IN LIBYA .

    FINALY ANDY I THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR ALL YOUR EFFORT IN OUR LIBYAN CASE AND WE WISH WE WILL SEE YOU IN OTHER LIBYAN POLITICAL EVENTS AND READ MORE OF YOUR ARTICLES ABOUT LIBYA .
    OSAMA EL HUDAREY

  33. libyan partiot says...

    I don;t kow why i should say cuz i have lost some people tht i know in such massacre…… just i wanna know one thing….? Who freaking responsible for this murder…? and why he had done tht..? plz some one answwer all these question marks….
    tnx..

  34. enough!blog » 14th Anniversary of the Abu Salim Prison Massacre says...

    [...] For details about eye-witness accounts of the massacre, click here [...]

  35. WikiLeaks: Numerous Reasons to Dismiss US Claims that “Ghost Prisoner” Aafia Siddiqui Was Not Held in Bagram + Bring Aafia Home « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] may not be quite as notorious as Abu Salim prison in Tripoli — where around 1,200 prisoners were killed in a massacre in 1996 — or Bagram, because of its dark fame in the “War on Terror,” but to those in the know, it [...]

  36. 14th Anniversary of the Abu Salim Prison Massacre » Blog Archive » Enough!Khalas says...

    [...] For details about eye-witness accounts of the massacre, click here [...]

  37. Revolution in Libya: Protestors Respond to Gaddafi’s Murderous Backlash with Remarkable Courage; US and UK Look Like the Hypocrites They Are | NO LIES RADIO says...

    [...] In the 1980s, as the Guardian explained, Gaddafi “sent hit squads to murder exiled ’stray dogs’” who challenged his dictatorship, and throughout the 1990s he crushed Islamist opposition — and any other political opposition — at home, most notoriously instigating a massacre of at least a thousand prisoners in Abu Salim prison in Tripoli in June 1996, as I reported in an article in 2009, entitled, UK protestors mark 13th anniversary of Libyan prison massacre. [...]

  38. Revolution in Libya: Protesters Face Gaddafi’s Murderous Backlash as US, UK Ooze Hypocrisy | Amauta says...

    [...] In the 1980s, as the Guardian explained, Gaddafi “sent hit squads to murder exiled ’stray dogs’” who challenged his dictatorship, and throughout the 1990s he crushed Islamist opposition — and any other political opposition — at home, most notoriously instigating a massacre of at least a thousand prisoners in Abu Salim prison in Tripoli in June 1996, as I reported in an article in 2009, entitled, UK protestors mark 13th anniversary of Libyan prison massacre. [...]

  39. Libya and Tauron | The Caprica Times - Caprica TV Series News Video Photos Ringtones Info says...

    [...] a long history behind it. One of the key events in the history before the Libyan uprising was the Abu Salim Prison Massacre. In 1996, Gaddafi (current leader of Libya and opposition to the rebellion) had just taken Libya [...]

  40. Libya, Waiting to See « zunguzungu says...

    [...] image made violent repression less useful to him. He would never have committed atrocities like he did in 1996 while he thought he had something to gain from [...]

  41. Article: “How the Abu Salim Prison Massacre in 1996 Inspired the Revolution in Libya” ‹ Libyan Council of North America says...

    [...] 4 News, reporter Lindsey Hilsum has just met family members of some of the prisoners killed in the notorious Abu Salim prison massacre on June 29, 1996, when an estimated 1,200 prisoners were killed in just a few hours by Colonel Gaddafi’s forces. [...]

  42. shadom says...

    hi and hello to evryone , im from mauritius ,plz do any one hv the link of talk about the prison massacre , if any plz let me knw here thnx you all n to andy also

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