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Libya: ICRC visits 50 detainees in Benghazi

25-03-2011 News Release 11/74

Geneva/Benghazi (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) started visiting Libyan servicemen and other people held by the Libyan armed opposition in Benghazi on 24 March.

Following ICRC standard procedures, delegates registered 50 people held in a military facility and talked to them in private in order to check on their treatment and conditions of detention.

"Our findings will be shared directly and in confidence with those responsible for their detention, which is the procedure we follow elsewhere," explained Dany Merhy, a member of the ICRC team that carried out the visit. Under international humanitarian law, people detained in relation to an armed conflict must be treated humanely under all circumstances. This includes protecting them against public curiosity.

Ten days ago, just before the ICRC had to temporarily withdraw its staff from Benghazi to the eastern city of Tobruk, delegates had already started a first visit to some 50 detainees held in the town's court building. By the beginning of this week, the ICRC had gained access to two wounded detainees being held by the opposition at a hospital in Benghazi.

The ICRC is pursuing its efforts to visit everyone who has been detained, by either party to the conflict.

For further information, please contact:
Marçal Izard, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 2458 or +41 79 217 3224
Simon Brooks, ICRC Benghazi, tel: +87 077 239 0114 or +218 92 291 9392