Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Libya morgue overrun with dead bodies rotting in the heat

The bodies lay partly covered in shrouds of tattered sheets on grey concrete floors deeply stained with blood. Some of the faces were almost serene, others frozen, mouth open, reflecting the terror of the last moments. In row after grim row lay the terrible human cost behind the battle for Tripoli.

Around 170 bodies have passed through the morgue of the Sher Zawiyah Hospital - many of them civilians with shrapnel wounds, caught up in the crossfire - as the regime and rebel forces continue their bitter struggle for control. Others appear to have been executed, with bullet wounds to the head, handcuff marks on their wrists.

Corpses have been brought to the doorway in pick-up trucks, cars, and the few functioning ambulances. A double layer of surgical masks were needed to view the corpses, seven in one room, 32 in another, decomposing in the heat. That is what the bereaved families have to do, some sobbing as they left, clutching each other.

Hashan Al-Agap had come to collect the remains of his nephew, Mohammed, who had been killed after being arrested by regime forces near Bab al-Aziziya, the fortress of Muammar Gaddafi. The 20-year old student was among eight found in the basement of a security building, all of them shot dead.

Mr Agap (50) had driven from his home in Misrata to check on relatives in Tripoli. He was travelling with Mohammed and his two sons, Moiz and Mohab. "Our car was stopped and both Mohab and Mohammed were dragged out with guns to their faces. I tried to stop them, but they threw me back, threatened to shoot me."

The two young men were beaten and told they would be shot for what happened at Bab al-Aziziya.

Mohammed's body was discovered when the Gaddafi troops abandoned the building.

"We have had this for 42 years. We thought all this would now end, but the killings continue, all these lives..." Mr Agap's voice faded and he started crying.

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