UN Mission In Libya Urges Probe Into Death Of Detained Activist

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The United Nations Libya mission (UNSMIL) has urged authorities in the eastern part of the country to investigate the death of an activist who had been in detention since last year.

Siraj Dughman died while in custody at Rajma military camp in Rajma town, about 27 km (17 miles) east of Benghazi, UNSMIL said on social media platform X.

The mission said it was “deeply saddened” and called on authorities to conduct a transparent and independent investigation into his death.

Benghazi’s Internal Security Agency said in a video statement that Dughman died after he fell on his head while climbing sewage pipes in an attempt to escape from a bathroom window on Friday morning.

The agency said Dughman had been detained pending a case referred by the public prosecution concerning meetings that included discussions about the overthrow of political bodies and the military.

Libya has had little peace or stability since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi. It split in 2014 between eastern factions in Benghazi, the second-largest city, and western factions in Tripoli, with rival administrations governing in each region.

The security agency said Dughman had been detained in legal custody “by human rights standards”.

UNSMIL said Dughman and four other detainees were all arbitrarily arrested and detained in 2023. “They were never formally charged or appeared in court?” it said, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all arbitrarily detained individuals, including those detained with Dughman.

Briefing the U.N. Security Council last week, the U.N. envoy to Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, expressed his deep concerns about “the rise in abductions, disappearances, and arbitrary arrests in Libya”.

Bathily said he had tendered his resignation to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, saying his mediation efforts had been met with “stubborn resistance, unreasonable expectations and indifference to the interests of the Libyan people”.