Libya finds grave with 1,270 victims of 1996 massacre

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 25, 2011 10:58 AM
Libya finds grave with 1,270 victims of 1996 massacre

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's interim authorities said on Sunday they had found a mass grave in the capital containing the bodies of more than 1,270 people killed by Muammar Gaddafi's security forces in a 1996 massacre at Tripoli's Abu Salim prison.

The uprising that toppled Gaddafi last month was ignited by protests linked to the Abu Salim massacre.

In February, families of inmates killed at the south Tripoli prison in 1996 demonstrated in the eastern city of Benghazi to demand the release of their lawyer.

Human rights groups have estimated that about 2,000 Abu Salim inmates were killed in the 1996 massacre.

"We are dealing with more than 1,270 martyrs and must distinguish each one from the other for identification by comparing their DNA with family members," said Dr Osman Abdul Jalil, a medical official.

"It may take years to reach the truth."

Khaled al-Sharif, spokesman for the Tripoli Military Council, said investigators had found the site about two weeks ago, relying on information from people detained on suspicion of involvement in the massacre in some way.

(Reporting by Joseph Logan; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Sophie Hares and Giles Elgood)