Human Rights Watch report says ISIS has executed 49 people since last year

Human Rights Watch report says ISIS has executed 49 people since last year

A report [1] released last Wednesday by an international rights group, known as Human Rights Watch, has revealed that a large number of horrific acts, such as crucifixions, executions and beheadings have been carried out by ISIS against the city of Sirte, Libya. According to the report, 49 executions for various “crimes” have occurred since February 2015 alone.

ISIS acquired a position in Libya during North African dictator, Moammar Gadhafi’s fall in 2011 [2]. During this chaos, ISIS took advantage of the nation while it was torn between governments, armed groups and parliaments. It wasn’t until late 2014 that ISIS began infiltrating Sirte, and by August 2015, Sirte had become their largest refuge outside of Syria and Iraq.

According to Letta Tayler, a senior researcher in terrorism and counterterrorism at Human Rights Watch, the western world is oblivious to this.

“While the world’s attention is focused on atrocities in Syria and Iraq, ISIS is also getting away with murder in Libya,” she said on Wednesday [3].

Ms Tayler also revealed that ISIS is not only performing terrorism on their enemies, but they are also harming and killing Muslims who follow their rules.

Human Rights Watch interviewed 45 current and former Sirte residents who said that ISIS’ morality policemen patrol the streets daily and flog or fine men for “smoking, listening to music, or failing to ensure their wives and sisters are covered head to toe in loose black abayas.” Executions and other brutalities generally take place after people are accused of crimes, such as sorcery, spying, blasphemy and even insulting God.

The 45 residents admitted they live in states of constant fear. They described life in Sirte as “unbearable,” and said they have witnessed public beheadings, extreme floggings and have even seen corpses hanging from scaffolding.

According to the report, ISIS “encourages” people to watch the torture of citizens. One resident named Mahmoud once witnessed an execution, and said that after the executioner was finished, “he raised the head for the crowd to see.” This incident was later posted online to instil a sense of public fear and to gain publicity for ISIS.

A severe form of Sharia, known as Islamic law, has also been forced upon Sirte, and the Libyan way of life has been erased. ISIS is dictating the colours of citizens’ clothing, the length of their pants and even the type of education their children receive.  Nobody has access to banks and citizens are forbidden from communicating with the outside world, unless they do so through ISIS call-centres.

The report said ISIS is not providing enough necessities, such as food, medicine and money to residents because they are diverting them to 1,800 morality policemen and fighters whom ISIS has stationed around Sirte. They have also taken control of some homes, which has left many Sirte residents homeless.

The Human Rights Watch reported that more than two thirds of Sirte’s 80,000 population has fled the city since ISIS’ siege, including 30-year-old Ahlam, who cried when she said she would have to return to Sirte soon.

“There are no groceries, the hospital has no doctors or nurses, there is no medicine,” she said. “There are spies on every street. Most people have left, but we are trapped. We don’t have enough money to leave.”

According to the report, A US military commander said in April that ISIS has 4,000 to 6,000 fighters in Libya, which has doubled over the past year. The Human Rights Watch said other countries must help to bring ISIS to justice because they cannot do it alone.

“Instead of issuing empty threats, international players should keep their promises to identify and punish those responsible for serious crimes in Libya,” said Ms Tayler. “Failure to act will only lead to more civilians falling victim to horrific crimes by groups including ISIS.”

However, according to Tim Anderson [4], it should be acknowledged that the Human Rights Watch does not acknowledge the covert role that countries, such as US, Israel, UK and Saudi Arabia are playing in supporting ISIS. This is because the Human Rights Watch funding comes primarily from pro US sponsor, George Soros, who is one of the wealthiest men in the world. Soros also sponsored the release of the Panama papers and uses the White Helmets as a propaganda tool to try to blame the Syrian army and the government for war crimes that US sponsored terrorists do [5].


 [1] “We feel we are cursed: life under ISIS in Sirte, Libya”, Human Rights Watch, May 18, 2016.

[2] “Beheadings, crucifixions and food shortages: life under IS in Sirte”, Middle East Eye staff, Middle East Eye, May 18, 2016.

[3] “ISIS crucifixions, beheadings and executions carried out In Libya stronghold of Sirte, new report reveals”, Morgan Winsor, International Business Times, May 18, 2016.

[4] “Syria: “Human Rights Watch’, Key Player in the Manufacture of Propaganda for War and Foreign Intervention”, Tim Anderson, Global Research, February 1, 2014.

[5] “US Propaganda War In Syria: Report Ties White Helmets To Foreign Intervention”, MintPress News Desk, MintPress News, September 11, 2015.


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