Twelve men face mutilation and execution for allegedly being gay after being captured by an extremist Libyan Islamist militia.
The twelve men were, apparently, having a private party in Ain Zara, a suburb of Tripoli, the country's capital, when the militia captured them, late on Thursday night (22 November).
The group boasted by posting the pictures of the men on Facebook, describing them as the ‘third sex’ (a term used in the Arab Gulf area to denote ‘queers’) including one of the men who had a henna ‘tattoo’ on his back.
One of the pictures was accompanied by the Quranic call 'there is no power but the power of Allah!'
At the time of writing, the picture of the men received 121 likes, 118 shares, and mainly violent comments such as ‘flog them hard!', ‘let them see bullets!’, ‘free Libya! [ie from gays]’, ‘ride them like camels’ and so on.
Human Rights Watch Libya left a comment saying the organization hopes the men will not be treated inhumanely and called upon the militia to hand the men to the civil authorities (the comment received no likes).
The militia Facebook page entitled as the ‘special deterrence unit’ boasted that the men were captured doing the ‘practices of the people of Lot’ (ie gay sex) and that they are to be mutilated and executed.
The militia also claim they have now become a legal part of the Libyan Ministry of Interior.
The group states its mission is to remove ‘corruption’, ‘vice’, alcoholic drinks and now gays from the streets of Libya.
Human Rights Watch Libya identified the group as the Al-Nawasi militia, who are considered to be extreme Salafists.
The militia has been previously been reported as being responsible for attacks against Sufi (moderate form of Islam) shrines and followers.
Gay Star News has, so far, not been able to independently verify the reports.
Speaking with Gay Star News, a Libyan LGBT activist nicknamed Khaleed stated: ‘We never had any gay nightclubs in Libya, so it is not uncommon for Libyans - straight, bisexual and gay men to party in a private space, drink, dance, have fun and sometimes even have sex.
‘That fact that they were captured by this extreme Salafist militia is very worrying.
‘The situation for LGBT people after the revolution generally improved, people can meet each other more easily than under the Qadaffi [Gadaffi] regime, although, of course we still have to be very discreet and careful.
‘Many of us fear that some of the militias [there are over 250 of them in the country], which are extreme Islamists who are very well armed and financed, will focus on the LGBT community and hunt us down.
‘The police is largely absent or powerless so Libyan civil society has a real problem; the militias often take the law onto their own hands.
‘That the Al Nawasi militia claims they are now part of the Ministry of Interior is very worrying; this move should be unacceptable to the public and to civil society groups.’
UPDATE: Since GSN published this article, the Human Rights Watch organization has complained about the unaffiliated Human Rights Watch Libya using its name. The Libyan group has apologized and changed its name to Human Rights Libya.