WASHINGTON — The United States on Monday urged Libya to uphold human rights and to probe a report of summary executions of Moamer Kadhafi loyalists, calling the allegations “extremely disturbing.”
The US State Department also called on Libya to respect the rights of women after Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the interim leader in the wake of the NATO-led intervention, spoke of the imposition of Islamic sharia law including polygamy.
Human Rights Watch said it discovered 53 decaying bodies in Sirte at an abandoned hotel in Sirte, the site of Kadhafi’s last stand, and that some had hands bound behind their backs when they were shot.
“Extremely disturbing report,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
US Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz “raised it with the Transitional National Council today and asked them to conduct a full investigation,” she said.
The rebel council on Sunday declared “liberation” after the death of Kadhafi, whose own killing has been the subject of intense controversy after footage showed him bloodied but clearly alive shortly before death.
Interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said in a speech to the nation that “any law that violates sharia is null and void” and pointed specifically to restrictions on polygamy that were imposed under Kadhafi.
“We seek a democracy that meets international human rights standards, that provides a place for all Libyans and that serves to unify the country,” Nuland said.
While not objecting to Islamic law in itself, Nuland said: “The number one thing is that universal human rights, rights for women, rights for minorities, right to due process, right to transparency, be fully respected.”
The European Union also called on Libya to respect human rights after Jalil’s comment on sharia. Jalil has sought to reassure the West by saying that Libyans are moderate Muslims.