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HRW: Pro-Haftar militias arbitrarily detain 50 people after prison break

A Libyan man waves his national flag in Benghazi, Libya on 27 February 2015 [ABDULLAH DOMA/AFP/Getty Images]
Libya's national flag in Benghazi, Libya on 27 February 2015 [ABDULLAH DOMA/AFP/Getty Images]

An armed group linked to the commander of the so-called Libyan Arab Armed Forces, General Khalifa Haftar, has arbitrarily arrested at least 50 residents of the eastern city of Derna following a 16 January prison escape, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said yesterday.

"The armed group, Tarek Bin Ziyad Battalion, captured the five escapees, all from Derna, on January 20 and returned them to Garnada Prison, a high-security facility near al-Bayda in eastern Libya," HRW said in a statement, noting that despite recapturing the five prisoners, it has continued to detain an unknown number of Derna residents who were rounded up in the escape's aftermath presumably in Garnada Prison.

According to the rights watchdog, the people detained include relatives of the escapees but also former detainees from Derna and their relatives.

"Once again, unaccountable LAAF forces resort to brutal tactics to instill fear and terror among Derna residents," said Eric Goldstein, deputy regional director at HRW.

Goldstein called for the release of those arbitrarily detained and to reveal the whereabouts of anyone still in detention.

READ: Pro-Haftar forces used banned landmines, documents show

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