Libya: most ruthless “jailer” sanctioned

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27 October 2021

Osama al Kuni Ibrahim, the de facto head of the Al-Nasr detention center, accused of carrying out horrific human rights abuses against migrants

The United States and the UN Security Council have imposed sanctions on Osama Al Kuni Ibrahim, a 45-year-old Libyan national and head of the Al-Nasr detention centre in Zawiyah, for severe violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Al Kuni is held responsible for the systematic exploitation of African migrants in the detention centre and is charged with torture, murder, beatings, sexual violence, and other mistreatments against them.

On 25 October, the UN added Al Kuni to the list of sanctioned individuals, claiming that he acted on behalf of or under the instruction of two other blacklisted individuals closely linked to the human trafficking activities of the Zawiyah network, namely Mohamed Kashlaf (the leader of the Al Nasr militia) and Abdulrahman al Milad. The UN Sanctions Committee has called on countries to prohibit Al Kuni from transiting through them and to freeze any funds in their territory. On Tuesday, the US Treasury Department announced a freeze on all his assets and criminalised any transactions. The Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Andrea M. Gacki, said that “treasury is taking this action to promote accountability and expose the illicit activities of those abusing and exploiting migrants transiting Libya in pursuit of a better and more secure life”.

There are reports from migrants of brutal violence. People beaten with iron bars, often with the intention of forcing the migrant to ask her/his family for money to facilitate her/his release. Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, called on "Libya's Government of National Unity to hold accountable Al Kuni and others perpetuating such abuse".


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Author:Eleonora Lombardi; Editor: Jasmina Saric

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