Several days ago, the seventh anniversary of the launch of the so-called “Al Karama Operation”, passed, through which Khalifa Haftar took control of the eastern region militarily, and while Haftar’s media promote this memory as liberating the eastern cities from terrorism, the human rights and living conditions of those cities indicate otherwise.
Invasion of Benghazi
The so-called “Al Karama Operation” was launched on May 16, 2014. For the purpose of controlling the city of Benghazi, and while the General National Congress considered it at the time a military rebellion and an attempted coup against the February 17 revolution, the Tobruk Parliament legalized these militias, considered them a regular army, and appointed Haftar as commander in chief of the army.
Taking control of the city
After a three-year war, Haftar announced in July 2017 that his militia had taken full control of the city, as the last announcement came after fierce battles in the Al-Sabri area in Benghazi, in which hundreds of fighters from both sides were killed.
Haftar’s military control of the second largest city in Libya and the capital of the eastern region was due to the use of foreign forces and military support from a number of countries. The British website “IHS Jane”, which specializes in military and judicial affairs, announced that the UAE had established Al-Khadim air base near the city of Al-Marj in July 2016, it operates light and unmanned attack aircraft.
In the same context, the French President announced in 2016 the killing of 3 of his “Special Forces” soldiers after their helicopter crashed in Libya, and the French newspaper “Le Monde” was the first to confirm the French military presence in Libya in February of the same year, in addition to the Egyptian and Jordanian support with weapons and ammunition, which was unveiled in numerous reports of the United Nations experts.
Violation of human rights
As evidence of the poor living and human rights conditions in the city since Haftar’s militia took control of it in 2014, Amnesty International criticized in its report last April the military courts prepared by Haftar for hundreds of civilians in eastern Libya, describing them as secret and grossly unfair trials aimed at punishing opponents and actual critics of him.
The organization said that those courts had executed at least 22 people to death, and hundreds more were imprisoned between 2018 and 2021, and many of the accused were subjected to torture and other ill-treatment in pretrial detention.
The organization stated that among those on trial are journalists, a group that participated in peaceful protests, and dozens who defended human rights, or who published criticism of Haftar and his militias on social media.
Al-Barasi assassination and the kidnapping of Serqiwa
Benghazi witnessed a number of heinous crimes, including the kidnapping of parliamentarian Siham Serqiwa and the lack of disclosure of her fate until now, in addition to the assassination of human rights activist Hanan Al-Barasi in the middle of Benghazi’s streets, as well as the public execution crimes carried out by major Mahmoud Al-Warfalli,of Haftar militias who is wanted by the International Criminal Court before he was assassinated himself in Benghazi last March.
Destruction of Benghazi and Derna
One of the most prominent crimes that Haftar’s forces committed in order to control the cities of Benghazi and Derna was the massive destruction in a number of residential neighborhoods, which resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people from their areas of residence after their neighborhoods and homes were destroyed.