UN condemns shelling on prison in Libya’s Tripoli

Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Stephanie Turco Williams on Tuesday condemned shelling on a prison in south of Libya’s capital Tripoli, which injured a number of workers.

“Stephanie Turco Williams strongly condemns today’s repeated shelling on Ain Zara neighborhood in southern Tripoli, including the Al Rwemi prison, reportedly by forces affiliated with the Libyan National Army,” the UNSMIL said in a statement.

The UN official called for an immediate halt to the shelling on the area where the prison is located, to avoid mass casualties among prisoners and prison guards.

Williams said that armed clashes, shelling, and mobilization of forces in Libya continue despite the calls by many UN member states, the UNSMIL and the UN secretary-general for an immediate cessation of hostilities to enable joint approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the past 48 hours, the UNSMIL documented more than 13 violations of the humanitarian cause, which resulted in the killing of at least three civilians and injuries to others,” Williams added.

William also urged the authorities across Libya to “release all prisoners who are arbitrarily detained, and consider releasing pre-trial prisoners, and in particular, women, children, persons with disabilities, migrants and refugees in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.”

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Justice of the UN-backed government said that a missile shelling carried out by the eastern-based army hit a prison in southern Tripoli that houses more than 420 inmates, injuring three workers.

The eastern-based army has been leading a military campaign since April 2019 in and around the capital Tripoli, attempting to take over the city and topple the UN-backed government.

The fighting has killed and injured thousands of people and forced more than 150,000 to flee their homes.