Misrata

BENGHAZI, Libya — Doctors Without Borders has suspended its work in prisons in the Libyan city of Misrata because it said torture was so rampant that some detainees were brought for care only to make them fit for further interrogation, the group said Thursday.

The announcement was compounded by a statement from Amnesty International saying it has recorded widespread prisoner abuse in other cities as well, leading to the death of several inmates.

The allegations, which come more than three months after former leader Moammar Gadhafi was captured and killed, were an embarrassment to the governing National Transitional Council, which is struggling to establish its authority in the divided nation.

Doctors Without Borders said that since August, its medical teams have treated 115 people in Misrata who bore torture-related wounds, including cigarette burns, heavy bruising, bone fractures, tissue burns from electric shocks and kidney failure from beatings. Two detainees died after being interrogated, the group’s general director said.

“Patients were brought to us in the middle of interrogation for medical care, in order to make them fit for further interrogation. This is unacceptable,” MSF general director Christopher Stokes said in a statement. “Our role is to provide medical care to war casualties and sick detainees, not to repeatedly treat the same patients between torture sessions.”

MISRATA, Libya — The bodies of Moammar Gadhafi, his son Muatassim and a former aide have been moved from a commercial freezer in a warehouse area of Misrata in anticipation of burial, a security guard said.

Local military spokesman Ibrahim Beitalmal has said the burial is likely to take place Tuesday. He said the three men would be interred in unmarked graves in a secret location to avoid vandalism. Asked about the removal of the bodies from the freezer, he said he was unaware of the process of burial getting under way.

However, Salem al-Mohandes, a security guard at the warehouse complex, said the bodies were moved late Monday from the freezer, where they had been on display for the past four days.

“Our job is finished,” said al-Mohandes. “He [Gadhafi] was transferred, and the military council of Misrata took him away to an unknown location. I don’t know whether they buried him or not.”

An Associated Press Television News team saw three vehicles leave the warehouse area late Monday. The team then entered the freezer and found it empty. 

PARIS — The leaders of France and Britain will make a quick visit to Libya on Thursday, an official with Libya’s governing body said, becoming the first foreign heads of government to travel to the country in the post-Moammar Gadhafi era.

There was no official confirmation of the visit by the offices of President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister
David Cameron.

“Our policy is never to comment on the prime minister’s schedule,” a spokesman for Cameron said on  condition of anonymity.

Suleiman Fortia, a representative of the Libyan city of Misrata to the National Transitional Council, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the two leaders were expected to visit.

France and Britain pressed for NATO action to protect civilians against Gadhafi’s troops, and a French aircraft was the first to fly in the air campaign over Libya. France was the first country to recognize the council, known as the NTC, the closest thing to a government that Libya currently has.

“Those who helped us, we are so happy to receive them as the first leaders to come,” Fortia said.

Sarkozy and Cameron will visit Benghazi and Tripoli, according to Fortia. “We also invite them to visit Misrata because this is the place which showed Gadhafi how Libya is strong,” he said. He added that he did not know whether the invitation would be accepted during Thursday’s trip.

The western port city of Misrata was a stronghold of the revolt against Gadhafi’s 42-year-long rule, playing a central role in the war. The former rebels swept into the capital Aug. 21.

Gadhafi is being hunted down but numerous close family members have fled to neighboring Algeria and to Niger.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also expected to visit Libya this week.