Despairing teen refugee discovered hanged in Libya detention centre | Migration Information

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WARNING: The next story comprises photos that could be disturbing to some readers.

The image of a 19-year-old’s physique hanging lifeless from the ceiling in one of many halls-cum-dorms of the Ain Zara detention centre, south of Libya’s capital, Tripoli, is the newest proof of the human price of the nation’s detention centres.

Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, a refugee from Sudan’s war-torn area of Darfur, is believed to have killed himself on June 5 after being launched and apprehended once more within the span of two weeks.

Hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers in Libya are languishing within the centres, trapped in limitless cycles of detention and abuse with dire repercussions for his or her psychological well being and security.

Asylum seekers who spoke to Al Jazeera from inside Ain Zara mentioned Abdel Aziz’s physique was left hanging for hours within the room the place he lived with lots of of others.

Mustafa, one other Sudanese asylum seeker who requested that his title be modified to guard his id, informed Al Jazeera the picture of Abdel Aziz’s physique was taken covertly by detainees on the centre. Libyan authorities later confiscated telephones to forestall the picture from spreading, and dozens weren’t returned.

Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, 19, hanged himself in Ain Zara detention centre.
Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, 19, is believed to have hanged himself in Ain Zara detention centre, close to the Libyan capital Tripoli. [Al Jazeera via sources]

Mustafa mentioned folks trapped within the detention centre are rising more and more determined as they see little or no hope for the long run.

“We have now been right here for 5 months,” he mentioned. “Mohamed received bored with this till he reached this degree and he [killed himself].”

Let loose, then detained once more

Abdel Aziz and Mustafa had been arrested in an in a single day raid whereas peacefully demonstrating for relocation, safety, and evacuation from Libya exterior the United Nations’ refugee company (UNHCR) on January 10.

Greater than 600 folks had been violently arrested and detained that day. The protests adopted a serious crackdown within the western city of Gargaresh, a hub for asylum seekers from African international locations, that displaced hundreds of individuals and resulted within the detention of not less than 5,000.

Abdel Aziz was let out on Could 23 as a part of a bunch of 99 asylum seekers, together with 46 kids, evacuated from Ain Zara with the assist of UNHCR.

He seemingly spent days on the streets earlier than being apprehended once more by Libyan authorities and brought again to the centre, the place he’s believed to have taken his personal life shortly after.

Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Aziz.
Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Aziz [Al Jazeera via sources]

“He was given 500 dinar ($104) however it was not sufficient to lease any room to remain in,” Mustafa mentioned. “The UNHCR makes you signal a paper saying they can not assist with lodging.”

The UNHCR informed Al Jazeera in a written assertion that it was “saddened by the tragic demise of the younger asylum seeker”. It didn’t verify the sum of help allotted however mentioned {the teenager} had “obtained money help in several instalments by means of our city programmes”.

The company offered a replica of the consent type for switch, which states: “UNHCR is NOT offering lodging NOR can it prepare for lodging.”

As of Could 22, the UNHCR estimates that there are 2,772 folks held in detention centres throughout Libya.

The company mentioned it doesn’t maintain monitor of how many individuals are re-apprehended after being launched with its assist.

The Libyan authorities didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Little oversight

Hussein Baumi, Libya and Egypt campaigner at Amnesty Worldwide, informed Al Jazeera detention centres in Libya function with more and more scarce oversight on the a part of worldwide organisations, together with the UNHCR and the Worldwide Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Libyan authorities have closed centres run by the Directorate for Combatting Unlawful Migration (DCIM) that had been rife with abuse, however comparable patterns of violations have been reproduced in newly opened or re-opened centres which are run by militias away from scrutiny.

Amnesty has documented torture, merciless and inhuman detention situations, extortion and compelled labour, in addition to invasive, humiliating and violent strip searches inside detention amenities.

Even when somebody is launched, freedom is just not assured for lengthy.

“Lots of people who’re launched are captured once more, typically by the identical militias,” Baumi mentioned, including that detention is commonly profitable for armed teams who ask for ransom. “It’s not a protected house for migrants and asylum seekers.”

For many who had been hoping to cross by means of Libya on their method to Europe, that’s usually not an choice.

The European Union has spent greater than 57.2 million euros ($64.8m) in Libya, with the declared goal of “sav[ing] the lives of these making harmful journeys by sea or land”, in accordance with a reality sheet printed by the European Fee in June 2021.

It has skilled and outfitted the Libyan coastguard to intercept boats of refugees and migrants hoping to make it to Europe and return them to Libyan shores. Human rights watchdogs have lengthy decried the alleged conduct of the coastguard, together with using firearms and the deliberate damaging of boats. 

Thus far in 2022, not less than 8,860 asylum seekers, refugees and migrants have been reported as intercepted by the Libyan coastguard and different naval authorities.

“Folks take boats figuring out that they could die,” Baumi mentioned.

“That is the one approach for them to flee mistreatment in Libya.”

For those who or somebody is susceptible to suicide, these organisations might be able to assist.

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