ICC Note: Uncovered ISIS secret prisons in Libya have recently been uncovered in the fighting to oust the terrorist group from the region. Testimonies from former prisoners and the empty cells show a terrifying picture of the conditions in which captives were held in Libya. The cells were used for both Christians and Muslims that the group saw fit to punish. Many were foreign workers of travelers coming through the region when they were captured by the Islamic State in Libya.
10/25/2016 Libya (All Africa): During a months-long investigation, IRIN tracked down and spoke to those held in so-called Islamic State’s secret prisons
“I have been subjected to immense misery for about nine months for no fault of mine,” a desperate prisoner wrote to his so-called Islamic State captors in the Libyan town of Sirte.
“I am sure you are merciful. Please show some mercy and release me from prison especially because I have been very sick and weak.”
Written in English by a foreign national held captive behind the bricked-up windows of a secret IS prison, the desperate missive – signed Dr Muhammad and dated April 2016 – detailed ongoing neglect despite the writer’s conversion to Islam after just one month of incarceration.
“I became so sick that I am not able to sit or stand for ten minutes continuously. I am standing up only for my prayers,” he wrote, pleading for medication to treat several long-term health conditions.
The letter, discovered in a secret prison in a Sirte suburb liberated by Libyan forces battling against IS, gave a chilling indication of the treatment of prisoners by the extremist group, which claimed Muammar Gaddafi’s former hometown as its North African stronghold for more than a year.
He was held in a secret prison concealed in the walls of a luxury villa, before being transferred to an official IS prison underneath Sirte’s courthouse. Still blindfolded from the journey between prisons, Mohammed and three other Libyan prisoners were thrown down the stairs into a subterranean cell only illuminated by one tiny window in the ceiling.
In adjacent underground cells were eight women – two Filipina nurses who had been working at Sirte’s Ibn Sina Hospital and six Ethiopian women who, having been arrested because they were Christians, had been held for three months. Three of the women were heavily pregnant and two had children, Mohammed said. The Ethiopian women were transferred into his cell, after raw sewage started leaking into theirs.