Colonel Jamal Abubriedaa, the director of the new, centralised al-Jawiya prison in Misrata, says there have been changes lately within Libya’s justice system. The Tripoli-based government – one of two parallel governments operating in conflict-torn Libya – has been taking steps to meet international norms, the warden told Al Jazeera.
International groups such as Human Rights Watch have raised questions in the past about conditions in Libya’s prisons, including keeping prisoners in unsanitary makeshift jails, detaining people without trial for lengthy periods, physical abuse and a lack of medical care. Abubriedaa says these concerns are being addressed, but acknowledged the difficulty of implementing a modern culture of human rights in the aftermath of more than four decades under the regime of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The new prison, located on the al-Jawiya air base, has consolidated prisoners from other makeshift jails in the country. Prisoners receive periodic medical exams and have access to a health clinic where chronic issues can be addressed. Abubriedaa says the improved conditions have made the guards’ jobs easier, because prisoners are now more compliant.