A Bangladeshi migrant was released after paying a ransom of about $30,000 dollars to a human trafficking gang in Libya. He was kept in a secret location for about two years.
Arif Ahmed, 24, made a deal with local agents to migrate to Italy, at a cost of Tk 1.2 million (around $11,000 dollars). However, he ended up in a prison in Libya, where he was subjected to unbearable torture.
Arif’s elder brother, Asad Mia disclosed this to Bangladesh’s newspaper Prothom Alo on Monday. He talked to his brother over the phone, after his release on Sunday.
Asad Mia said they “struggled a lot to arrange the money for ransom.” Now they are trying to bring Arif back to the country.
The gang in Libya sent a video of Arif being tortured. He was seen with marks of serious injuries on his eyes, hands, and legs in the video. He was crying at the time and was begging for his release. Later, this video went viral on social media.
“Arif is staying with an agent in Libya, who is an acquaintance of the family. He was subjected to severe torture in the prison camp,” Mohamed Hossain, another brother of Arif, told Prothom Alo.
“His physical condition is not good. He is undergoing treatment in Libya at the moment. We are trying to bring him back as soon as possible,” he concluded.
On Monday, the UN Independent Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) to Libya expressed its deep concerns over the country’s deteriorating human rights situation.
In its final report, the Mission stated that “there are grounds to believe a wide array of war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed by state security forces and armed militia groups.”
It noted that investigations “documented numerous cases of arbitrary detention, murder, rape, enslavement, extrajudicial killing, and enforced disappearance.” As well as noting that nearly all survivors interviewed had refrained from lodging official complaints, out of fear of reprisals, arrest, extortion, and a lack of confidence in the justice system.
“Migrants, in particular, have been targeted and there is overwhelming evidence that they have been systematically tortured. The report said there were reasonable grounds to believe that sexual slavery, a crime against humanity, was committed against migrants,” the statement added.
Mohamed Auajjar, the Mission’s chair said that “there is an urgent need for accountability to end this pervasive impunity.”
In May 2020, the family of a human trafficker killed by migrants for unknown reasons allegedly avenged his death by killing twenty-six Bangladeshis, and four African migrants in the city of Mizdah.
The former Interior Ministry said in a statement that the accused has confessed to the massacre.
“The arrest of the main suspect is a major victory,” the then Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha said. He called it “proof” that such crimes could not be committed with impunity in Libya.
The incident caused outrage in Bangladesh, which demanded that the Libyan authorities investigate the murders, bring the perpetrators to account, and compensate relatives. A Bangladeshi accused of heading a trafficking ring with “links to international traffickers implicated in this incident” was arrested in Dhaka in June 2020.