Libya: militia accused of grave abuses against migrants

Libya detainee

A May 4 report from Amnesty International finds that a militia funded and backed by Libya’s Tripoli-based Government of National Unity is responsible for a litany of crimes, including unlawful killings, torture, rape, forced labor, and the interception and return of migrants and refugees to the country’s notoriously harsh detention centers. Created by government decree in January 2021, the Stability Support Authority (SSA) is commanded by one of the most powerful militia leaders in Tripoli, Abdel Ghani al-Kikli AKA “Gheniwa,” who was appointed despite a well-documented history of crimes and serious human rights violations committed by forces under his command.

“Legitimizing abusive militia leaders and putting them on state payroll with no questions asked only empowers them to continue trampling on the rights of more people with complete impunity. It can come as no surprise that Abdel Ghani al-Kikli’s new militia is yet again involved in horrific crimes—whether against migrants and refugees or Libyans,” said Diana Eltahawy, deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“For over a decade, militias under his command terrorized people in the Tripoli neighborhood of Abu Salim through enforced disappearances, torture, unlawful killings and other crimes under international law. He should be investigated and, if there is enough admissible evidence, prosecuted in a fair trial.”

See our last reports on the migrant crackdown in Libya, and the country’s ongoing political crisis.