UN Asks for Probe Into Death of Detained Activist

The United Nations Libya mission (UNSMIL) has issued a fervent call for authorities in the eastern region of the country to thoroughly investigate the tragic death of an activist who had been held in detention since the previous year. Libya has been in a political stalemate since the collapse of Gaddafi’s regime.

According to UNSMIL’s announcement on the social media platform X, Siraj Dughman passed away while in custody at Rajma military camp in Rajma town, located approximately 27 kilometers (17 miles) east of Benghazi. Expressing profound sorrow, the mission urged authorities to conduct a transparent and impartial inquiry into the circumstances surrounding his demise.

The Benghazi Internal Security Agency, in a video statement, claimed that Dughman met his unfortunate fate after a fall that resulted in a head injury while allegedly attempting to escape through a bathroom window by climbing sewage pipes on Friday morning. The agency stated that Dughman had been detained pending a case referred by the public prosecution, relating to discussions about political and military matters.

In response to these developments, UNSMIL raised serious questions regarding Dughman’s detention, highlighting concerns about the lack of formal charges or appearances in court for him and four other detainees who were arbitrarily arrested and detained in 2023. Emphasizing the urgent need for their immediate and unconditional release, UNSMIL reiterated its call for adherence to human rights standards in detention practices.

The situation in Libya has been marred by persistent turmoil and instability since the NATO-backed uprising in 2011 that led to the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi. The country remains deeply divided between eastern factions centered in Benghazi and western factions based in Tripoli, each with its own governing administration.

During a recent briefing to the U.N. Security Council, the U.N. envoy to Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, voiced profound concerns about the escalating incidents of abductions, disappearances, and arbitrary arrests in the country. Bathily, expressing frustration with the lack of progress in his mediation efforts, revealed his decision to resign from his position, citing persistent obstacles and a disregard for the interests of the Libyan people.