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It has been described as a moment Prime Minister David Cameron and President Nicolas Sarkozy “will savour for years,” “the ultimate photo opportunity” and “a moment which will shape French and British foreign policy.”

When Cameron and President Sarkozy went to Benghazi  yesterday to express their support for Libyan rebels, they went straight to the site at which the rebels publicly beheaded an alleged pro-Gaddafi “mercenary” only weeks before.

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Lynching in Benghazi

July 17, 2011 — 39 Comments

Human Rights Investigations has been investigating the use and consequences of racist propaganda in Libya and this has led to the examination of video footage of atrocities committed in Benghazi, Libya.

Today HRI reports on the lynching of a man by rebels in Benghazi. Our hope is that the death of this man will inspire people to take action for peace.

To paraphrase the Black Star News, we hope that we don’t live in a world where the lives and deaths of black people are so debased that everyone turns a blind eye.

We will describe the video in detail – the description is graphic.

The frame below is taken from early in the footage of the lynching and shows the window used (the one with the arch):

Lynching in Benghazi (Still from video below)

The below photo from Al Jazeera (creative commons licence) shows the Libyan rebel media centre, part of the Benghazi Courthouse which now houses the rebel council and its leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil.

Benghazi Rebel Media Centre, Prison and Government Headquarters

The window from which the victim is strung up is the first ground floor window on the left of the Al Jazeera photo, the one with the arched top, between the door and the lantern to the right.

Here is a picture of the “internet room” (again from Al Jazeera) in this building from which the rebels spread their propaganda about “African mercenaries”.

Benghazi rebel internet room

This building will be familiar, of course, to the many journalists who have passed through ts doors, seeking stories for publication.

The footage of the lynching shows a large crowd in front of the rebel HQ, many holding up mobile phones to photograph/record the action. Two men, one in a yellow top with a hood and another with a brown top, yellow T-shirt and jeans haul the victim up to the window and tie him up to the bars by his feet as the crowd chants “Libya Hurra!”

As the camera comes closer to the window, we can see the victim – he appears to be a young, adult, dark-skinned man. He is bound by the feet and hanging from the bars, wearing olive trousers with no top. His back has three wounds and his face and arms are covered in wet blood. There is blood on the wall behind him. There is movement of the victim’s head and shoulders which indicates the victim is still alive.  There are further chants from the crowd.

The victim is then attacked by a young man with a beard wearing a striped hat who makes a number of attempts to decapitate the victim with a sawing motion of a sharp blade.

There is further movement of the victim. The man with the striped hat delivers three blows of a blade directly to the victims face.

A second man then strikes the victim on the neck twice with a long bladed knife. There is a throttled scream.

As we have said, this is a very disturbing video.

WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT:

We are not yet able to identify the victim. However, some of the perpetrators as well as witnesses are identifiable. Please provide any information on this incident.

Our hearts go out to the victim and his family and friends and the people of Libya. God willing, his death will not have been in vain.

We ask our readers to contact news organisations to demand they cover this story and to contact politicians to ensure that the rebels, amongst whom are clearly a significant faction equivalent to Al Qaeda /the Ku Klux Klan, are not supported in taking control of any further population centres.

Further specific evidence has emerged that there is a strong racist element within the rebel forces, including at command level, and it is the stated intention of these forces to ethnically cleanse areas they capture of their dark-skinned inhabitants.

Racism amongst the rebels including at command level

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, journalist Sam Dagher pointed out the obvious fact that the Libyan war is aggravating ethnic tensions in that country. The article talks about the fate of Tawergha, a small town 25 miles to the south of Misrata, inhabited mostly by black Libyans, a legacy of its 19th-century origins as a transit town in the slave trade:

Ibrahim al-Halbous, a rebel commander leading the fight near Tawergha, says all remaining residents should leave once if his fighters capture the town.  “They should pack up,” Mr. Halbous said. “Tawergha no longer exists, only Misrata.”

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