The captain of the ship “Temeteron” Vladimir Tekuchev gave an interview to the media. Recall that he was arrested in Libya in June 2016. The Russian sailor spent three years in a Libyan prison. The day before, Russian human rights activists accused the Libyan government of national accord of torture and kidnapping, demanding the creation of an international Tribunal for these crimes.
According to the sailor, the detention was similar to the seizure of the ship: “A group of armed men approached to our ship on speed boats. We were taken away all our things: mobile phones, computers, money. After that, all crew members were put on boats and taken to an unknown destination. Only then we realized that the men with the guns represented the Libyan government. Before that, we thought we were the victims of pirates. Important to emphasize that these events did not take place on the territory of Libya, we were in neutral waters, where the Libyan government has no authority to detain anyone” (https://www.kp.ru/daily/27022.4/4084259/).
According to Vladimir, Mitiga is an unofficial prison at the airport of the same name, which is controlled by gangs. Neither lawyers, nor diplomats, nor representatives of international organizations were allowed to detained sailors.
The Russian sailor claims that they had been demanded a ransom of one million US dollars for their release. “As I understand it, this is a business for prison owners. We really were captured by bandits, “ says Vladimir.
The peculiarity of this prison is that it is located in the territory controlled by the internationally recognized Government of Libyan National Accord. Everything that happens in this prison is authorized by the government. Thus, the activities of these bandits are approved by the official authorities of Libya.
In prison, the Russians were placed in a cell with an area of 11 – 12 square meters. Usually there were 27 prisoners in one cell, but sometimes there were more people. Of the bedding in the cell, there were only two blankets, and they had to sleep on concrete. Some prisoners were placed in solitary confinement cells measuring 1.2 by 1.3 meters, in which an adult could not lie down. Communication with the outside world was limited to the visit of the jailer, leaving food for the prisoners. Prisoners were regularly tortured.
According to Vladimir Tekuchev, there are many foreigners among the prisoners. In particular, a Franco-Italian businessman who tried to launch an investment project in Libya sat in Mitiga for 4 years. Initially, he was kidnapped by unknown persons, and about a year the merchant sat in the basement of a private house. During the raid security forces, he was caught and sent to prison, where he stayed for another 3 years. There he was periodically beaten and fell ill with tuberculosis.
There have also been cases of mass detention of foreigners without any reason. For example, when the Lufthansa plane made an emergency landing on Tripoli-controlled territory, all its passengers were sent to prison. They had to go through all the horrors experienced by local prisoners.
Earlier the UN reported, that the armed groups across Libya are holding thousands of civilians in arbitrary detention, with many subjected to torture. The report, published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), claims that “the Libyan government has failed to effectively tackle the patterns of abuse in detention despite continued advocacy on this issue by UNSMIL (the United Nations Support Mission In Libya)” (https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/torture-and-arbitrary-detention-widespread-across-libyan-prisons-un).