Update: Libya death toll tops 173, says Human Rights Watch

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, February 20, 2011 7:48 EDT
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Update: Death toll now at least 173, rights group says

Human Rights Watch said Sunday that the countrywide death toll in Libya had reached 173.

Local residents told Al Jazeera that 200 people had died in Benghazi alone.

Original report continues below…

TRIPOLI (AFP) – The death toll has topped 100 from an iron-fisted crackdown on protests in east Libya, Human Rights Watch said, as demonstrators on Sunday again braved the streets of the restive city of Benghazi.

Speaking to Al-Jazeera television on a patchy telephone line, a Benghazi resident warned that the flashpoint city was turning into a scene of “out of sight massacres”.

“It feels like an open warzone between protesters and security forces,” said Fathi Terbeel, a protest organiser in Benghazi. “Our numbers show that more than 200 people have been killed … God have mercy on them.”

Another witness, identified only as Omar, told the Arab satellite that hundreds of angry protesters were gathered in front of Benghazi’s court house after gunfire rang out downtown.

In what Britain has slammed as a “horrifying crackdown”, the death toll from protests against Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s regime since Tuesday has risen to more than 100, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

“Our researcher in Libya has confirmed at least 104 deaths,” HRW’s Tom Porteous told AFP from London, with the overall toll based on reports from witnesses and medics.

“We are very concerned that under the communications blackout that has fallen on Libya since yesterday that a human rights catastrophe is unfolding,” said Porteous, director of its London office.

The bloodshed peaked in Libya’s second city of Benghazi on Saturday when mourners heading to the funerals of people killed by security forces targeted a military barracks on the route to the cemetery, witnesses said.

They threw firebombs at the barracks and troops responded with live rounds in which “at least 12 people were killed and many more injured,” said Ramadan Briki, chief editor of the Libyan newspaper Quryna, citing security sources.

Before the latest round of bloodshed in Benghazi flared on Saturday, the New York-based HRW said security forces had already killed more than 80 anti-regime protesters in eastern Libya.

“Security forces are firing on Libyan citizens and killing scores simply because they’re demanding change and accountability,” it said.

After regime opponents used Facebook to mobilise the initial protests, the social networking website has since been blocked and Internet connections unreliable, according to Tripoli and Benghazi residents.

HRW said thousands poured into the streets of Benghazi and other eastern cities on Friday, a day after clashes in which 49 people were killed including in the city of Al-Baida where two policemen were reportedly lynched.

Libya’s attorney general, Abdelrahman al-Abbar, ordered on Saturday an inquiry into the violence in the east, an official in Tripoli told AFP.

Kadhafi, 68, is the longest-serving leader in the Arab world. His oil-producing North African state was long a Western pariah, but relations had improved markedly in recent years.

US President Barack Obama has condemned the use of violence against peaceful protesters in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen, while Britain France and the European Union have urged Libyan authorities to exercise restraint.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague urged Libyan authorities to rein in the security forces, and Washington had cautioned American citizens to steer clear of the restive east of Libya.

Meanwhile, Libyan authorities announced the arrest of dozens of non-Libyan Arabs across the country for allegedly stoking the protests.

Those detained were members of a “foreign network (and were) trained to damage Libya’s stability, the safety of its citizens and national unit,” the state news agency Jana said.

Kadhafi himself has made no public comment about the unprecedented challenge to his four-decade rule, part of a regional wave of popular uprisings that have already toppled the regimes of Libya’s neighbours Tunisia and Egypt.

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  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6EX2KJ7LSZMDCBZWCH62Q7CABY Sandra

    Propaganda. Also the photo used in the story was shot in the US.

  • Anonymous

    If we’re so obsessed with putting our nose into other countries and sending missiles into presidential palaces, this is one bastard that should have a missile sent into his.

    With his name as recipient.

  • Anonymous

    Libya’s Internet, Communications Shut Down
    Internet and some other communications cut off in Libya, with most of the ongoing unrest in the eastern city of Benghazi. Troops there have used machine guns and tear gas on protesters, with a local doctor at least 200 people have already been slain

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6EX2KJ7LSZMDCBZWCH62Q7CABY Sandra

    The internet there was never cut. Bit.ly and all websites were working smoothly all day. The MSM added updates that it was turned back on almost immediately after repoting it was shut down. Some vague blogger reported it on his blahg and a couple of lazy reporters repeated it on their news sites. Echo chamber of unverified info continues today..

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Al Jazeera is reporting over 200 actually. Their reports and videos are very disturbing as well as the reports coming out of the country. Qadaffi has hired mercenaries from Africa (including Ben Ali’s old goons) and paying them $500/day to shoot at unarmed civilians with an additional $12,000 for each one they kill. They are also reporting that the regular army is putting down their weapons and joining the protesters. One report stated that the people had taken over the city of Benghazi, Libya’s second large. Let’s hope this ends soon for them. Those poor people, so courageous, so oppressed. Nobody deserves freedom and the right to self-governance like them. They have earned it and paid for it with the innocent blood of their children.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    The US is more interested in buying dictators and hijacking revolutions than justice and democracy. That’s not profitable. Now, watch ‘em come around sucking once it’s all over and the people take power.

  • Anonymous

    I know. We have become what we despise.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    I rather contend that the US has always been that way. It’s just become more obvious as of late, that’s all.

  • TheDevilCanDance

    Absolutely, the US have always been involved in supporting dictatorships,when they did not militarily invaded countries they wanted to steal natural resources from. The history of the US is a never ending story of looting and butchering.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Amerikans don’t even realize, nay, don’t even know that their precious empire hijacked Cuba’s first revolution back in the 1800s under the false flag of the Maine. When it was all said and done, we went from being owned by the Spanish to winning our independence to folding under the US Empire. When they were done with us, they moved in on the Philippines. It’s been downhill for us every since.

  • TheDevilCanDance

    Yes indeed, they butchered about 2 millions people in the Philippines, and 100 years later these imbeciles still consider America to be the beneficent good old brother….

  • Johnny Warbucks

    It’s all that cognitive dissonance. How else do you think they can make it thru the day? Well, in addition to the booze, the pills, the drugs, the guns…

  • Jaimie11
  • Jaimie11

    Now it’s up to 300 estimated, 230 confirmed. Check out antiwar.com

  • Johnny Warbucks

    I have worse news. Al Jazeera is reporting he’s bombing the protesters with fighter jets, Israel style.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Jamie, check Al Jazeera. They’re reporting that he’s bombing the protesters with fighter jets a la Israel.


  • Jaimie11

    Look at this too – http://www.debka.com/

    Libyan fighter jets, helicopters land in Malta. Qaddafi’s rule may be breaking up

  • Anonymous

    shame about qadaffi… back in the 1970s, i read his soft-socialist political philosophy volume, ‘las libertad verdes.’ but he became corrupted by power and failed his people. the US killed his daughters in a bombing… he was wrongly blamed for the downing of that jet… and yet the US has bought all the libyan crude thay could in order to fly their super-charged NASA crafts. qadaffi should have retired and should let go the reins now or he’ll lose any respect his people once had for him.

  • Jaimie11

    7:39pm: Karl Stagno-Novarra, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Malta, reports the pilots of the jet fighters that landed there are “senior colonels”, who were ordered to bomb protesters. They refused and have defected to Malta, he said.


  • Johnny Warbucks

    No, Jamie. Look here:



    ” Whoever is in the streets, they are getting killed.”

    She tells us there are five or six fires raging around the city, gunfire was heard during the call to prayer. Her cousin, a doctor, was turned back on his way to the hospital – because doctors are being shot.

    People are grabbing anything they can from their houses.

    7:56pm: Al Jazeera Arabic is speaking to a political activist in Tripoli, who tells us there are airstrikes “all over Tripoli”.

    There is death, fear – and women are crying everywhere. The strikes are concentrated against areas that sent large number of protestors to the streets and there are cars full of foreign fighters firing on people.

    He says at least 250 people were killed in the past 24 hours alone and is calling for international help. He tells us Tripoli is “under siege by foreign fighters” – that water and electricity have been cut and there is a shortage of food and medical supplies. “It is a genocide,” he says.

    7:45pm: The defected pilots reportedly tell Maltese officials they were based in Tripoli and ordered to attack protesters on the ground in Benghazi. After seeing their fellow pilots begin the airstrikes, they diverted course toward Malta. If substantiated, this would appear to confirm the use of airstrikes against civilian protesters in cities around the country.

  • Jaimie11

    According to my moral code this would be an appropriate time to call for US intervention, if the US government were moral. What do you think?

  • Jaimie11

    I think he has already lost all respect.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Shit, I almost have to agree with you… There are reporting almost a 1,000 dead already.

    All of these wimps are ‘calling’ for restraint and tongue lashing Qadaffi. Yet, Bush went into Iraq and Afghanistan on a lie.

    How reliable is that source you provided to me before? It doesn’t look right to me. Too many weird stuff I can’t put my finger on.

  • Jaimie11

    Yeah, I know. It’s pissing me off. Europe is addicted to Gaddafi’s oil and on Libya to hold the line against dark people invading Europe.

    Which source? The DEBKA file. Yes, they are weird. From what I can tell they report the Mossad spin before it’s been consolidated into the news cycle. You can make predictions from it, what will appear in NYT and the rest of the MSM.

  • Jaimie11

    The history books are vacuous to begin with, then add tv, pills, booze, porn, etc, etc.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Aaaah, revisionist history. What would lying, cheating, thieving regimes the world over do without it?

  • Johnny Warbucks

    I’m listening to Al Jazeera right now and they just had some yoyo on who’s talking about the UN and how they can’t do anything today cause it’s a holiday in the US. WTF? People are dying en mass and these bastards take a holiday! Then, he goes on to detail how difficult it is and how they have to do this, that and the other thing and they can’t just go in and blah blah blah and I’m thinking to myself, yeah, right, unless the US wants to invade. Then, they’re there in a matter of hours. Just look at today, they had no problem murdering 64 people in Afghanistan and another 7 in Pakistan. They’re quick for the slaughter but drag their feet to do anything good.

    Yes, that DEBKA site was very strange. I got some very bad vibes from it. That whole story about the 5 ships corralling the 2 Iranian ships was very strange. I had been following that whole story very closely at Ha’aretz and even with their paranoia, I didn’t see anything that even came close to that. And they’ve been peeing in their pants over those ships for weeks now.

  • Jaimie11

    Yes, I heard that bull too about the UN being closed. Right all the people who can do something are off at a secret location worshipping dead presidents. The US has big guns close by.

    JW, remember when the US sent ships to Egypt to rescue Americans from the ‘mob’? Could those be the ships DEBKA is talking about? Did they ever leave the area?

    Did you read what DEBKA is about? http://www.debka.com/about/

    Now Ha’aretz is reporting the Iran ships have passed through the Suez – in the Mediterranean now? The second link mentions US ships monitoring the passage.




  • Jaimie11

    Well, those five ships sure have been sent on the most *important* mission, haven’t they.

  • Jaimie11

    So DEBKA was right. Ha’aretz reports the US made this announcement.

    As for the site, I got it from GlobalResearch.ca a long time ago.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    What better mission than to god the precious Chosen People™

    And don’t kid yourself, those ships are a permanent fixture off the coast of Tel Aviv.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Of course, they have big guns close by: Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Israel, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia. Just to name a few. As I said above, I’m sure those are a permanent fixture in the area. But now that you mention it, as soon as the unrest started in Egypt, I remember the reports of them sending troops and ships. That’s probably them. The 5th Fleet is homed in Bahrain too, duh! I saw one report at Ha’aretz last night and they were quite cool about it. The paranoia had turned to the Palestinians and the UN Veto. They were all shitting in their pants over the Arab League taking action.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Which announcement? The ships did pass thru yesterday, I read it at Ha’aretz last night. I thought I had the link but I don’t. They were all cool about it. What I don’t believe is the provocation that they describe took place with the US ships harassing the Iranian ships. I would have heard something about it.

    Here’s what Ha’aretz is reporting today (I just took a walk over there):

    Iran warships expected to arrive at Suez Canal early Tuesday

    I guess this is the one I saw last night, where the Chosen People are cool with it now:

    Passage of Iran ships through Suez delayed by 48 hours
    Israel is following the movement of the warships closely, although it does not believe the Iranian vessels have hostile intentions toward Israel.

  • Jaimie11

    They were all cool about it – yeah, on the surface but I’ll bet there was scrambling in the intelligence community about all the possibilities of what could go wrong – don’t you think? Especially in light of the events in Egypt and Israel not sure what attitude to expect from the military power. And the last time Iranian ships were in the Mediterranean was in 1979. There must have been nail biting and hair pulling like mad. Maybe there still is.

    What you think?

  • Anonymous

    seems likely. despotism grows on most who hold reins too long. i think fidel
    is a rarity in that he became ever more lenient as he aged in power. think
    this has to do with his lesbian-feminist poet-painter daughter… he
    recently repented his treatment of both gays, feminists and prostitutes
    after the revolution in which, as usual, these were instrumental in that
    successful rebellion. he’s also on record as admitting some of his other
    failures, like being to set about economics and free expression. but when he
    gave the okay for any to leave cuba who wished, just 1/3 of 1% took him up
    on it. and were the US to invade cuba even today, they’d find cubans taking
    up arms and fighting tooth&nail.

    i think europeans are now shipping to cuba, but imagine cuba having no
    automobiles new than 1957, yet still running… and their medical skills,
    lacking most high-tech, is admired worldwide. in fact, they keep outsending
    docs in such emergencie as haiti, tsunami, pakistan, chile.

    canadian friend of mine and his wife went to cuba some years back to live on
    a sugar cane plt for a summer. wife got appendicitis. leaving, he was
    expecting the bill… nope, no bill, sir. civilized.

  • Jaimie11

    As I mentioned to someone else,

    Take your complaints to the oligarchs. I have no control over them. If you want to see real change boot them and their criminal banking system out of the country. Then see how much money is available to fund humane interests.

  • Anonymous

    to date, the oligarchs haven’t paid me much heed… though
    politically-motivated vigilantes or such did kidnap me into a waiting black
    van; injeted me with god knows what several times; beat me very
    professionally half to death and dumped me at a hospital in july of 2006. in
    2008, i learned that a fellow who had superised my wife and i in webdev and
    organizing work for the big UN anti-war-torture rally at the UN met the
    exact same folks in the black van while leaving that rally… never saw a
    face nor heard a voice and will never know who paid for that hit. but if
    they want me to shut up… will have to either kill me, disappear me, or
    threaten my wife.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Everything with those mad dogs is about paranoia and drama. With everything else that’s going on, they could only give this a limited amount of attention. The same night that article was published, every other headline was dealing with the issue of the Palestinians and the backlash they got as a result of the US bullying the UN veto. Trust me, that was huge. There was no mention of it here but the rest of the world was enraged. That was more important, more pressing and more real. Iran is all fearmongering so they can extract more attention and more money out of the rest of the suckers that head to their paranoia.

    Oh, btw, I spotted on Yahoo today another article detailing how the US and Israel had just successfully tested a joint missile system. I said, “oh, boy!” The trolling was at an old-time high. I don’t even know why I bother with that site. It makes my blood pressure go thru the roof.

  • Jaimie11

    That’s a terrible story, but I believe it – I’ve seen things myself. Lucky they were sensitive to your medical needs, dumping you at a hospital like that. CIA or FBI contractors – you think?

    Anyway, you might be interested in this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXiTuxqRk2Y

    We have to get them out of our money system before it’s too late. I try telling people that is the root of our problems. Too many still believe left or right offer the only solutions. Any ideas?

  • Anonymous

    we had a highly-skilled computer-phone stalker-hacker from 1996-2005…
    spook-spooky. but never any threats, ultimatums. then bam! so what is there
    to do but keep on being what we are?

    too late for the financials. look into what IMF/worldbanc/WTO are doing for
    OPEC/EU/PRC re creating the ‘bancmark’ to grab the world’s currency now that
    the USD is no longer capable of paying back interest, much less th
    bush-doubled national debt and the $2trillion obamabush has added to help
    pay the corporatists while we starve…

    stansberry of stansberry investments says convert stocks and assets to gold
    and run. i say, lacking stocks or assets… steal a car… pack the
    family… run for the great white north or prefefrably the great white south
    of bolivia. more fun and better financials… look at the lithium market
    they have cornered with a grand democratic-socialist prez who got there as
    the head of the coca growers union… and they love him 84%. when was the
    last time an amearican prez had that approval?

    this is not going to be pretty. and me, 140lbs of brains and no brawn…
    serious. die on the ramparts or live to fight another day. hey, all i need
    to battle is have a working electric plug and my imac… no windows, pls…