New Libya: Man Tortured to Death for ‘Drinking Alcohol Illegally’

By Terence P. Jeffrey | February 28, 2014 | 4:53 PM EST

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Libya on Oct. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque)

( - A man was beaten and tortured to death in custody after he had been arrested for “drinking alcohol illegally” in post-Qadhafi Libya, according to the State Department's newly released report on human rights in that country.

According to the report, which focuses on the human rights situation in Libya in 2013, there were “27 deaths in custody during the year” that “were due to torture, 11 of which were in detention centers under the nominal authority of the government but effectively under the authority of armed brigades.”

“Reported abuses included beatings with belts, sticks, hoses, and rifles; administration of electric shocks; burns inflicted by boiling water, heated metal, or cigarettes; mock executions; suspension from metal bars; and rape,” said the report. “Abuses of detainees, particularly alleged Qadhafi loyalists and sub-Saharan Africans allegedly aligned with Qadhafi, similarly were reported at militia-run facilities throughout the country.

“Militias subjected other categories of detainees to torture,” said the report. “For example, according to an UNSMIL report, on June 17, Ali Mas’ud Ahmad al-Etri died in custody due to beatings and torture in the Mitiga detention facility under the authority of the Tripoli Supreme Security Committee (SSC). (The SSC, established in 2011 under the Ministry of Interior’s authority, was intended to be a temporary mechanism to incorporate former anti-Qadhafi fighters into the formal security apparatus.)

“On June 14, members of the SSC arrested the victim, according to his family, while he was drinking alcohol illegally,” said the report. “Authorities provided his relatives no information on his whereabouts and refused access despite several requests. The head of the SSC claimed that four of the detention facility guards were arrested and were being investigated in connection with this death.”

In 2011, President Barack Obama ordered the U.S. military to intervene in the Libyan civil war on the side of rebels seeking to overthrow Qadhafi. On Sept. 11, 2012, U.S. Ambassdor Chris Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed after terrorists attacked U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

The State Department Country Report on Human Rights in Libya says that the country is now a democracy.

“Libya is a parliamentary democracy with a temporary Constitutional Declaration that allows for the exercise of a full range of political, civil, and judicial rights,” says the report.

“The government did not announce any arrests in the September 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of four U.S. government personnel, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens,” says the report.