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Amnesty International criticizes Libya militias

Human rights group says militias, which helped defeat Muammar Gaddafi, are "out of control," and are "threatening to destabilize Libya."

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A Libyan demonstrator holds a sign as people gather for a protest calling for uniting the army and disarming militiamen in the eastern city of Benghazi on December 13, 2011. AFP PHOTO/ABDULLAH DOMA (Abdullah Doma/AFP/Getty Images)

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Amnesty International issued a report on Thursday that sharply criticized Libya's militias, which are credited with helping speed the fall of Moammar Gaddafi, but have since turned into "out of control" groups that are "threatening to destabilize Libya."

The group said the National Transitional Council, which united the militias in its efforts to oust Gaddafi, failed to exert control over the guerrillas and has not brought human rights violators to justice: "The authorities have so far failed to take action against suspects who fought with the NTC forces, sustaining a climate of impunity for human rights abuses," Amnesty wrote.

The report contended that the groups hold thousands of Gaddafi loyalists in poor conditions, and some detainees have been tortured to death. The groups continue to make arrests and "thousands of detainees remain held without trial or any means to challenge the legality of their detention," Amnesty said.

More from GlobalPost: Libya: It ain't over yet

The United Nations said last month that 8,000 Gaddafi loyalists are still being held in Libya, the BBC reported. The Guardian said that 12 detainees have been tortured to death since September. 

The Guardian reported that the allegations are "a fresh blow" to the Libyan government, which has struggled to assert control over the country after the fall of Gaddafi last year. 

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also issued a critique of Libya last month: "There's torture, extra judicial executions, rape of both men and women."

More from GlobalPost: Libya: Torture and death widespread in prisons

Amnesty visited 11 detention centers and found torture at ten; "several [detainees] told Amnesty International that they had confessed to crimes they had not committed just to end the torture," The Daily Telegraph reported.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120216/rights-group-criticizes-libya-militias