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Libya's tale of three prisoners

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - 02:13

Aug. 31 - Freed Libyan political prisoners celebrate their freedom as detainees who fought for Gaddafi wait to find out their fate. Paul Chapman reports.

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Thousands of people were detained by Muammar Gaddafi's forces during the six months of revolt against his rule. Former prisoner Abdul Hameed Gabasa, now enjoying his freedom after his release by the rebels, says he had a narrow escape. SOUNDBITE: Abdul Hameed Gabasa, freed prisoner, saying (Arabic): "It was possible that during our arrest we could have been killed but when we reached jail they hit me a bit and transferred us to Abu Salim prison. I was lucky I didn't remain at Zawya prison because prisoners at Zawya had to go three days without food and endure daily beatings." In Misrata a makeshift detention centre now holds Libyans who fought for Gaddafi. They're waiting to find out their fate. Ali Sadik Hamouda says the government told him he was fighting al Qaeda militants and criminal gangs. SOUNDBITE: Ali Sadik Hamouda, detainee, saying (Arabic): "What can I tell you. It was a corrupt regime from the start. From the beginning it was a corrupt regime in every way, human rights, oil. There was nothing going in the right direction. Thank God, God gave us our rights and hopefully the rebels will do good for Libya." Walid Salem is a guard at another Libyan jail. He says he knows what life was like on the other side of the bars under Gaddafi's regime. He says he was held for 17 days in June and was tortured. The experience has taught him to take better care of those now in his charge. SOUNDBITE: Walid Salem, prison guard, saying (Arabic): "I'm giving them the best treatment. I saw the oppression and the way they treated us in the past. I will not accept that this should happen to them. In the end they are our brothers." Rebel forces are questioning detainees to find out who they are, and what they were doing at the time they were arrested. Non-governmental organisations are trying to investigate allegations of abuse by both sides. Paul Chapman, Reuters

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Libya's tale of three prisoners

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - 02:13