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A new United Nations report says up to 7,000 people suspected to have fought with Muammar Gaddafi forces, are being held in Libya without legal representation.

Of the 7,000 currently under National Transitional Council-administered custody, many are sub-Saharan Africans said to be targeted for their skin colour.

The report was prepared for the UN Security Council in advance of Tuesday's debate on Libya.

Some of the 327 men being held in a prison in the coastal city of Misrata told Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught that the charges against them had not been made clear and they had not been given access to legal representation.

The UN report's publication came as Mustafa Abdul-Jalil's, the NTC leader, announced that a former deputy prime minister, Ali al-Essawi, had been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder in July of General Abdel Fatah Younis, a former Gaddafi interior minister turned senior NTC commander.

Prior to his death, Younis had been accused by some within the anti-Gaddafi camp of continuing to aid secretly the Libyan leader even after defecting to the opposition side last February.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies