Rebels in the newly liberated Libya have arrested around 70 doctors and nurses in Zawiya, who they believe had ties or allegiances with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, Channel 4 News understands.
The medical staff have been detained in jail for an indefinite period and do not know if or when they will be given a trial, a source said.
“These are brave doctors (and) nurses who have saved the lives of Gaddafi people, of rebel people, for many months of war, without payment, without electricity and in fear of their lives,” they said.
“Many (were) arrested because they once treated a member of the Gaddafi government, or Gaddafi himself or his father 20 years ago, as they have to for their job. They are not criminals. This is crazy.”
The source added that although Zawiya had been liberated in late August, medical staff had not been allowed to leave the hospital because of continuing skirmishes and gun battles in and around the city during the night, 50km (31 miles) from the capital, Tripoli.
These are brave doctors (and) nurses who have saved the lives of Gaddafi people and of rebel people, for many months of war, without payment, without electricity and in fear of their lives – Zawiya medical source
They said that scores of casualties continued to present themselves at the hospital daily.
The news comes as 53 people, believed to be Gaddafi loyalists, are thought to have been killed at a hotel in Sirte last week, according to Human Rights Watch.
Some of the bodies had their hands tied behind their backs with plastic ties. Others had bandages over serious wounds, suggesting they had been treated for other injuries prior to their deaths.
Human Rights Watch identified four of the dead as residents of Sirte: Ezzidin al-Hinsheri, allegedly a former Gaddafi government official, a military officer named Muftah Dabroun, and two Sirte residents, Amar Mahmoud Saleh and Muftah al-Deley.
The Hotel Mahari has reportedly been in the hands of anti-Gaddafi forces from Misrata until since the fighting in Sirte stopped on 20 October.
Font: Channel 4