Tawergha Association Reports Human Rights Violations by Misrata to the Attorney General – Al Marsad

A complaint note filed with the Public Prosecutor by the Association of the Families of Martyrs, Missing Persons, Detainees and Victims of Tawergha, shockingly reveals that atrocities and human rights violations against the Tawergha are far from over.

[Libya, 30 July 2019] – Al Marsad received a copy of the Association of the Families of Martyrs, Missing Persons, Detainees and Victims of Tawergha legal complaint. The document refers to the continuation of sewage waste and garbage disposal in the residential districts of the city of Tawergha by the Misrata Water and Sanitation Company vehicles.

A letter from the Association to the Public Prosecutor requested an investigation into the whereabouts of the post-February 2011 POWs of Tawergha who were detained in Jannat before they were reportedly liquidated and buried in a graveyard allocated specifically for the fallen personnel of the Libyan Army, Libyan Security Service, and their supporting forces who were killed either in confrontations with the 17 February uprising rebels or in air strikes that were executed by the NATO and targeted pro-Gaddafi forces. The fallen soldiers were buried in that special cemetery as part of social profiling the victims as non-Muslims.

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In its official proclamation, the Association revealed that private sewage vehicles and other vehicles of the Misrata Water and Sewage Company dispose their sewage waste and garbage in the farms and residential areas inside the cordon of the city of Tawergha, although these vehicles carry their cargo over a distance that normally exceeds 40 kilometers to the east of the city of Misrata.

The public notification confirmed the transformation of a land lot located east of Tawergha to a landfill and medical waste disposal area for hospital waste and sanatoriums, in addition to the transformation of some residential neighborhoods in the Allam District to a construction waste dump.

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Furthermore, some personnel of the Ministry of the Interior, reporting to the Government of National Accord’s Minister of the Interior, Fathi Bashagha, destroyed a massive quantity of Tramadol tablets, estimated at approximately 6 million tablets, in the above neighborhood, turning a blind eye to the accompanying health hazards and after effects on the local residents who have returned to their city after their long ordeal of displacement that lasted for eight years.

Complaint letter issued by the Association of the Families of Martyrs, Missing Persons, Detainees and Victims of Tawergha

The protest note, addressed to the Bureau of the Public Prosecutor expressed appreciation for the role played by the “esteemed Bureau in the service of justice and the realization of rights until the state of justice and law, and the achievement of social justice and equality, is achieved, to provide the people with safety and security. We, the Association of the Families of Martyrs, Missing Persons, Detainees and Victims of Tawergha, are concerned about the rights of our parents to return to their place of residence after the reconciliation agreement between Misrata and Tawergha has been officially concluded and signed. We reserve the right not to enumerate the facts of this situation despite its violation of all the rules of reconciliation and social peace.

The Association urged the attorney general to open an investigation in that regard, expressing its confidence in the independence of the Libyan judiciary and the efficiency of national judicial expertise to ascertain the truth of the situation on the ground and hold the perpetrators responsible for these crimes and abuses and to prevent impunity. The Association expressed its confidence that the complaint shall receive the due care and attention of the Bureau, according to the text of the proclamation.

Another public note addressed to the Attorney General, reiterated the Association’s commitment to demand the rights of the missing people’s families in Tawergha in particular, and all Libyans in general, with regard to knowing the fate of their missing siblings. The Association confirmed its reservation on some of the articles pertaining to the missing persons, and stipulated in the agreements concluded by the Dialogue Committee between the cities of Tawergha and Misrata. This included, for example, the agreement that was signed on 13 August 2016 and approved by the Presidential Council, and the Pledge of Reconciliation between Tawergha and Misrata signed on 3 June 2018, as well as in regard to Article (4) paragraph (c) of the 2016 Agreement which referred to the reparation of the missing persons from the two parties during the period between 17 February 2011 and 11 August 2011 without referring to the search mechanisms for the missing.

The Association expressed its reservation regarding the fourth paragraph of the Pledge of Reconciliation between Tawergha and Misrata signed on 3 June 2018, relevant to the obligation of the people of Tawergha to cooperate and report on any mass graves within their city in coordination with the competent authorities, without mentioning the fate of the missing persons in 2011 and beyond, particularly those who were arrested alive and then reported dead. “We firmly and wholeheartedly express our reservation on the content of this document because it was drafted without giving regard to the aspirations of the families of those who went missing in Tawergha in a flagrant violation of human rights and all the rules of reconciliation and social peace, as well as the non-neutrality of dealing with the file of the missing,” the Association added.

The Association praised the prominent role of the Tripoli attorney general’s Bureau in upholding the values of human rights and implementing law and social justice and equality, as well as its support of the families of the missing. In parallel to its commendation of the efforts exerted by the attorney general’s Bureau, the Association highlighted several issues of importance to assist these efforts in achieving justice to the people of the city as elucidated in the public note.

The Association also expressed its gratitude to the Public Prosecutor for his diligent follow-up of cases which is crucial to the realization of justice and laying down the foundations of social peace, as well as his issuance of instructions to open the Jannat cemetery in Misrata, where many of the remains of the missing and dead people of Tawergha are buried there, including those victims whose pictures were handed over to their parents as prisoners of war in 2012, after coordination with the relevant international organizations and the International Red Cross, as well as the local authority in Tawergha. According to the public note issued by the Association, the photos of the missing are displayed on the bulletin boards in the camps of the displaced, and the grave numbers where they were buried had been identified by their relatives.

Tawergha burying their dead

The proclamation also demanded the opening of a comprehensive and transparent investigation regarding the deaths of the living prisoners and the circumstances that led to that, the fate of those missing, how to complete their burial procedures, and the possibility of issuing death certificates to those who died after they were arrested alive—in addition to bringing the accused to justice, and matching DNA samples of the corpses found in the Jannat cemetery in Misrata with the families of the missing, as well as completing the process of sample collection of those who could not give their samples before.

The notification requested the Public Prosecutor to address the concerned authorities to establish mechanisms in order to indiscriminately reveal the fate of the missing persons through the formation of an independent judicial body to follow up on the files of the Tawergha missing persons and to assist their families in the proceedings and the submission of their complaints. Furthermore it requested a set date for a proposed meeting between the Association and the Public Prosecutor, according to the same public notification.

© Al Marsad English. 2019.