May 2, 2018 / 7:57 PM / 5 months ago

Libyan commander Haftar faces torture allegation in French lawsuit

PARIS (Reuters) - A lawsuit has been filed in France against Libyan army commander Khalifa Haftar alleging torture and barbarism, the plaintiff’s lawyer in France, Rachel Lindon, said on Wednesday.

Libya's eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar attends General Security conference, in Benghazi, Libya, October 14, 2017. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

The suit, which aims to get the French government to open an investigation into operations by Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), was filed last month on behalf of a Canadian-Libyan living in Canada.

Several members of the plaintiff’s family were killed during a three-year LNA campaign to take control of Benghazi, Libya’s second city.

The complaint was filed as Haftar, 75, was receiving medical treatment in Paris after falling ill during a foreign tour.

Haftar’s LNA is aligned with a government based in eastern Libya which has opposed a rival, internationally backed government in the capital, Tripoli.

A former commander in long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi’s army, Haftar has gradually extended his grip on Libya’s east and parts of the south.

A separate war crimes complaint was filed last October in the United States by independent activist Emadeddin Muntasser, who said on Wednesday that that case was “in progress”.

Reporting by Simon Carraud and Leigh Thomas, additional reporting Aidan Lewis in Tunis; editing by John Stonestreet

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