By Ali Alasbli, social media activist and former prisoner in Garnada Prison
Garnada Prison that is located in Garnada suburban town in Shahat city, eastern Libya, has become one of the worst notorious jails in Cyrenaica, Libya’s east.
Garnada Prison is the place where screams of agony overlap with the smell of rottenness and blood. It is the prison that is founded principally on violating the international principles, laws, conventions and the humanitarian and moral values to the extent that it has become in competition with the secret jails of the terrorist groups before Dignity Operation.
120 nights have I spent inside that horror den due to some Facebook posts I have jotted down. My nights were spent in a baby-size dim cell, which could only allow me to hear the shrieks of the imprisoned people intermixed with the Allahu Akbar calls of the Salafists in charge of Garnada Prison.
The picture of a young man whom I saw struggling his last breaths out due to the inhumane beating of a bearded man is fixed on my mind. The young man was being beaten because of his writings about Wali Al-Amer “the leader,” according to the Salafists.
The funny thing in the laugh-chocking situation that the bearded jailer asked the man taking the beating to be quiet so that his screams won’t upset the other Salafist jailers nearby the torture room.
After the gigantic bearded jailer, who was wearing a short galabia with a permanent black mask on his face, finishes torturing, he leans on the BBR stick and then switches on the Mishkat Al-Nabowah radio that is owned by the Salafist groups. He turns the sound up then asks the prisoners:
What did the sheikh say?
In Garnada Prison, there is no judge, lawyer, a prosecutor or anything like that. I was not interrogated until after I had spent 15 days when I entered an open hunger strike.
What do you know about this person and that person?
Does x person have a weapon?
Does y person have connections with foreign intelligence or not?
When you went to Egypt. Did their intelligence recruit you as an agent?
They poured those questions at me after the 15 days. . However, as I was arrested without an official order from the authorities, I was released without one.
I was actually from the few luck ones whose families used tribal pressure as well as international organizations’ pressure, including Reporters Without Borders and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya.
Since Libya is a tribal society, I could venture saying that the social acceptance and support for Garnada Prison is the main reason that can decide the prison’s fate – open or closed.
Just like what the Awaqir Tribe in eastern Libya did when they discovered a secret jail in Suluq town in line with the case of abducting the activist, Othamn Al-Khatabiya. They shut down the jail and kicked out the ones in charge of the prison. That was a good gesture by Al-Awaqir tribesmen.
So, I don’t know why Al-Hasa Tribe could not take a similar stance to that of Al-Awaqir’s, knowing that tens of its men are working at the infamous Garnada Prison.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Libya Observer