Amnesty International accused a strong Libyan armed group backed by the government of abusing migrants and Tripoli locals on Wednesday. The Stability Support Authority (SSA) was accused of “unlawful killings, arbitrary detentions, interception and subsequent arbitrary detention of migrants and refugees, torture, forced labor, and other terrible human rights violations,” according to a statement. An environment of “entrenched impunity” had empowered the organization, according to Amnesty International.
The SSA is run by Abdel Ghani al-Kikli, one of the most powerful individuals in the North African country’s capital, and was established by former Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in January last year. If Al-Kikli, who is also known as “Gheniwa,” was chosen, Amnesty International says that he had a “well-documented history of international law violations and other significant human rights violations by militias under his command.”
With the NATO-backed rebellion that overthrew longstanding autocrat Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, Libya descended into brutal lawlessness. As a series of interim governments have come and gone, armed factions have fought for control of territory. Many of these groups have become part of the government in order to get access to the country’s huge oil resources. Human rights groups have often accused them of abuses.
Since March, the country has been divided into two governments. After al-Kikli and Lotfi al-Harari were removed from their jobs, Amnesty International wrote to Libyan officials and asked them to remove them from positions that would allow for more abuses, help them get away with it, or give them immunity from prosecution.
It stated that no response had been received. Amnesty International has accused Harari of being the chief of the Internal Security Agency in Tripoli, which Amnesty International has called “a crime scene.” “Legifying abusive militia leaders and putting them on the state payroll with no questions asked just empowers them to continue trampling on the rights of more people with full impunity,” Amnesty International’s regional director, Diana Eltahawy, said.
Amnesty International stated last month that military organizations linked to eastern Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar were holding at least nine “innocent demonstrators,” highlighting how rights have been “brutally destroyed” in regions under Haftar’s authority. UN investigators in March found that serious human rights violations, including possible crimes against humanity, were going on across a lot of Libya. This was putting a hold on the country’s transition to peace and democracy.