Amnesty says Gaddafi forces "executed prisoners"

LONDON (Reuters) – Captured rebel Libyan fighters have been found shot in the head with their hands tied behind their backs, Amnesty International said on Tuesday, adding it had strong evidence of other human rights abuses.

Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had also deliberately killed unarmed protesters and attacked civilians fleeing fighting, Amnesty said, citing evidence gathered by its delegates in eastern Libya over the past six weeks.

The rights group said Gaddafi’s troops appeared to have executed captured rebel fighters close to the town of Ajdabiyah.

Its researchers in eastern Libya had in recent days seen the bodies of two opposition fighters who had been shot in the back of the head after their hands had been bound behind their backs.

Amnesty said it had received credible reports of four similar cases, where bodies of captured fighters were reportedly found with their hands tied behind their backs and multiple gunshot wounds to the upper parts of their bodies.

“The circumstances of these killings strongly suggest that they were carried out by the forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“The deliberate killing of captured fighters is a war crime. All those responsible for such crimes – those who ordered or sanctioned them as well as those who carried them out – must be left in no doubt that they will be held fully accountable.”

Libya has plunged into civil war, with Gaddafi controlling the capital Tripoli and rebels seeking to end his 41 years in power running the eastern city of Benghazi. NATO airstrikes aimed at protecting civilians have failed to end a stalemate.

(Editing by Jon Boyle)

Amnesty says Gaddafi forces "executed prisoners"