Christians say they were tortured in Libya
CAIRO — Dozens of Coptic Christians were tortured inside a detention center run by a powerful militia in eastern Libya, two of the recently released detainees told The Associated Press on Friday amid a wave of assaults targeting Christians in Benghazi and the latest instance of alleged abuse by Libyan security forces.
The two, among about 50 Egyptian Christians detained in Libya on suspicion of proselytizing, told of being rounded up in a market by gunmen who checked them for tattoos.
“They first checked our wrists searching for the crosses, and if they found them, we (had to) get into their cars,” said 26-year-old Amgad Zaki from the city of Samalout, 135 miles south of Cairo.
Zaki said a group of men — some in uniform and some in civilian clothes — rounded up Egyptians selling clothes in a market in Benghazi on Feb. 26. The Christians were forced to get into SUVs that carried the sign of Libya Shield One, one of the most powerful militias in Benghazi that is under the command of Islamist and ex-rebel Wassam Bin Hemad.
“They shaved our heads. They threatened to sever our heads in implementation of Islamic Shariah (law) while showing us swords,” Zaki said from the safety of his home.
During four days of detention, he said, they were flogged, forced to take off their clothes in cold weather and stand at 3 a.m. outdoors on a floor covered with stones.
Egypt's foreign ministry said its embassy in Libya was investigating the allegations.
The militia that held the group claimed it treated the Christian detainees well.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- With help from U.S.-led airstrikes, Kurds retake strategic border town
- Venezuela’s Maduro says airlines wage ‘economic war’
- Sides reach out to undecided in Hong Kong
- Departing Karzai slaps U.S. 1 last time
- Obama, India PM forge deals on major issues
- China faces tricky balance in Hong Kong’s protests
- Protesters in Hong Kong stand firm in battle to stop encroaching rule by China
- Netanyahu rebuts claim of genocide, accuses Iran
- Virus traced to mosquitoes in Latin America causes severe joint pain
- U.S. identifies ISIS beheader
- Unrest, fatalities challenge shaky cease-fire in Ukraine