Friday 29 June 2012

Libya's secret disaster history

It is sixteen years since more than 1,250 inmates were gunned down at Abu Salim gaol in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, but this is the first time the Libyan people have been able to mark the anniversary.

The prisoners were killed on June 28 and 29, 1996 for protesting to demand better conditions.   Colonel Gaddafi’s brother-in-law, Abdullah al-Senussi, who is now under arrest, is accused of ordering the massacre.

While the Gaddafi regime was in power, victims’ families did not dare mark the anniversary, but now the prison has been turned into a museum where visitors can seen pictures of those killed, secret notes written by inmates and other objects from the notorious history of Abu Salim, where some were held for many years.

Although many old scores are being settled by the gun in post-revolutionary Libya, the judiciary has started prosecuting members of the former government.   Mr Senussi, is wanted by the International Criminal Court, but is currently being held by the Mauritanian authorities who have charged him with entering the country illegally.

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