Image: Pictures of missing and killed Libyans in Benghazi
Suhaib Salem  /  Reuters
A boy looks at pictures of missing and killed Libyans posted on a street in Benghazi on March 4.
Image: Miranda Leitsinger
By Reporter
msnbc.com
updated 3/10/2011 6:25:49 AM ET 2011-03-10T11:25:49

“Please escape, they are going to kill us.”

Those were the last words that Ramadan Elosta said he heard from his youngest brother, Salem, a teacher and father of three, as gunmen loyal to embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi led him away. Days later, his brother’s battered body was found at the morgue.

“He is killed because he is just protesting against Gadhafi,” Elosta said in an emotional telephone interview with msnbc.com from Tunisia, recalling his brother’s final words to him in a cell phone call. “We are calling the whole world to listen to us. We are dying; we are dying, while the world is watching.”

Salem is one of an unknown number of people believed to have been kidnapped by Gadhafi supporters in Libya since the uprising began in February. In some cases, relatives saw their loved ones arrested, while in others, the victims simply vanished. Some bodies were found, while the fate of others remains unknown.

While some may have fled the fighting, witnesses, experts and human rights groups say the frequency of the reports and the fact that kidnappings have long been used by Gadhafi to silence his critics suggest that an abduction campaign is occurring.

  1. Top stories: Turmoil in the Middle East
    1. UN: Gadhafi's food stocks to last just weeks
    2. S. African president: Gadhafi ready for truce
    3. Libyan rebels distribute rules on POW treatment
    4. Armed residents put up resistance to Syrian army
    5. Libyan rebels distribute rules on POW treatment

Determining the number of Libyans abducted by the Gadhafi gangs is impossible in the midst of the heavy fighting occurring in many parts of the country. But interviews with human rights groups and local residents indicate that the number is in the hundreds in the capital of Tripoli and the country’s second- and third-largest cities — Benghazi and Misrata — alone.

Some victims were protesters, some weren't
Many of those abducted have been active in the protests or fighting aiming to topple Gadhafi, but others had no role in the demonstrations, and the intent of the kidnappings appears to be cowing the populace, according to accounts obtained by msnbc.com.

“I have friends who don’t stay at their home. They are moving all the time, from one home to another,” said Ahmed El-Gasir, of the Libya-focused Human Rights Solidarity organization. “They cannot stay in their places overnight for fear of being picked up.”

Image: Salem Elosta
Courtesy of Ramadan Elosta
Salem Elosta, 36, was kidnapped by gunmen in Tripoli. His family later found his battered body at the morgue.

“The way they treat people nowadays, there is very little hope” for those who have been taken, he added, “but we still hope anyway.”

Those hopes are visible in Benghazi, where fliers for missing teenage boys are posted around the city. But so is the loved ones’ desperation, as family members search the morgues in Tripoli.

In the last week to 10 days, people have become more fearful, especially in Tripoli and cities surrounded by Gadhafi’s forces, said Heba Morayef, Libya researcher for Human Rights Watch.

“A lot of the people who were sending out information were then targeted, and people started to maintain more of a lower profile or to change their e-mail accounts or to request that people stop speaking to them,” she said. “That’s when we also started — through some of the Libyan organizations I work with — getting increasing numbers of reports of arrests.”

“It’s very strategic. It’s not random and it’s very sort of brutal,” she said of the kidnappings. “In typical fashion, they tend to round up and arrest on a very broad scale to intimidate, and I think this is specifically what’s been happening in Tripoli.”

Slideshow: Conflict in Libya (on this page)

Elosta, the Libyan whose brother was killed after being abducted, had encouraged others to join protests against the regime via social media. But he said his brother had not participated in the demonstrations until Feb. 25, when they joined a protest after the Friday prayers at their mosque in Tripoli.

“We are peaceful people. We have no arms, we have nothing,” he said. But soon they were shot at and ran off, hiding near their home. “We thought it finished that day. We were continuing to talk through the Facebook, we talk through the telephones and everything. The second day, we were surprised that they start to collect the people who were demonstrating.”

Elosta, a 48-year-old businessman, recalled seeing a security car outside their mosque on the day of the protest. He believes a fellow demonstrator was caught amid the ensuing violence, and tortured for the names of other protesters. Two days later, Salem, 36, was surrounded by gunmen in front of his brother's home and taken away.

'They have been taken from their houses'
“There are a lot of families who have lost their kids,” Elosta said, noting that a friend’s 21-year-old cousin had been abducted and killed in the same way as Salem — but his body was found thrown on the street. “They have been taken from their houses, kidnapped and they have been killed … as simple as that.”

Ahmed Sewelhi, a psychiatrist living in Britain, said his father and three brothers were grabbed in two separate abductions in Tripoli on Feb. 28. Two of his brothers were taken by Gadhafi’s men, a witness told him, while his father and another brother were taken by mercenaries and people in uniforms, he said.

Image: Abdurrahman Sewehli, left
Courtesy of Ahmed Sewehli
Abdurrahman Sewehli, left, a 65-year-old retired engineer, was abducted on Feb. 28 in Tripoli.

They had been participating in anti-Gadhafi protests, and his father, Abdurrahman, a 65-year-old retired engineer, had spoken out against Gadhafi on Arabic television, Sewelhi said.

One brother, 19-year-old Mohammed, was freed Sunday night, he said.

“He was in good condition and he said that he saw my family (father and brothers) a couple of days or something before he was released and they were OK,” he said in a telephone interview with msnbc.com from London.

Asked if the family was given an explanation for why Mohammed was released, he replied, “No. Nobody is even acknowledging that he was either released or kidnapped in the first place. That’s the way it works in Libya. Gadhafi doesn’t explain anything; neither do his thugs.”

“We just have to wait. … It is a nightmare, a very long nightmare.”

Libyan-Canadian businessman Ahmed Shebani, 41, said he had to carry a green flag and a picture of Gadhafi in Tripoli during the unrest because failure to display such paraphernalia would have made him a target.

“Either you’re going to get picked up or you’re going to get shot at,” he said, noting he was not a Gadhafi supporter.

Random round-ups at Tripoli airport
He described a harrowing scene at Tripoli’s international airport when he was being evacuated on Feb. 24 with other Canadians. A semi-trailer pulled up while they were waiting outside.

“It had little cutouts, just a small little breathing hole-type cutouts in it. All you could see was fingers and eyes in these holes. They were trying to peek out,” he said. “They were rounding people up indiscriminately from the crowd at the airport and tossing them in the back of this truck. … This was in front of us and they were telling everybody not to take pictures.”

In Misrata, about 125 miles east of Tripoli on the Mediterranean coast, 61 people — most of them older teenage boys — have been abducted, according to a resident keeping a tally of the missing, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear for his safety.

The majority of them were shoved into vehicles and taken to unknown destinations, where they were being held either “as hostages, so they will be sort of a bargaining chip for the pro-Gadhafi supporters to manipulate some of the families of those individuals, or they could also be used for propaganda,” he said.

Many of those kidnapped were leaders of the uprising in Misrata, who were fingered by Gadhafi supporters. They in turn passed on information to militia and mercenary groups, he said.

“Some people have been caught red-handed … that’s why we know the profile of the people who do this,” he said.

Yasmeen Ar-Rayani, the North America spokeswoman for Libyan League of Human Rights, said her organization also had received many reports of mercenaries and security forces snatching people.

    1. Castaway's parents thought they would never see him again

      The father of Pacific castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga said he was told his long-lost son vanished on a fishing trip but he didn’t have the heart to break the news to his ailing wife.

    2. Scotland legalizes same-sex marriage
    3. Weapons deal strengthened Assad: US intel chief
    4. Outcry over the fate of Sochi's stray dogs
    5. Olympic construction leaves Sochi residents in the cold
“A lot of the reports that came out of Tripoli when protests first started there — people were driving around and going into houses and taking people out without any explanation and throwing them into cars,” she said. “They (Gadhafi supporters) weren’t wearing uniforms and they weren’t in marked cars. This practice doesn’t only target the people who are being kidnapped. … It’s about intimidating other citizens from participating and discouraging them from participating in this uprising.”

Mothers searching for missing sons
In Benghazi, a number of boys between the ages of 12 and 16 have disappeared, according to one mother who joined a protest last Friday in front of the local prosecutor’s office to ask for help.

The woman, who declined to give her name, said her son, 16-year-old Sami Nagi Abdulsalam, disappeared while playing with other children in the streets of Benghazi around Feb. 18. She said Sami was not involved in the anti-Gadhafi demonstrations in the city and she said they have no idea who snatched him and his friends.

She said she and other mothers searched the city’s hospitals, posted fliers and made announcements on the radio and television stations.

"We all went to the prosecutor’s office," she said. "We prayed to God for their safe return.”

Morayef, of Human Rights Watch, said she had spoken with a 19-year-old boy who was arrested in Benghazi and detained inside military barracks for about 30 hours before being released as the city fell to the protesters on Feb. 20.

“He just said that he was picked up completely randomly … they may have thought he was going to protest,” she said. “He said there were lots of them, shoved into a room with more than 30 people. He didn’t really understand” why he was picked up.

Image: Ahmad Majdi Hussein Al-Awjali
Courtesy of Amnesty International
Ahmad Majdi Hussein Al-Awjali disappeared on Feb. 20 around a special armed forces compound in Benghazi.

Donatella Rovera, head of the Amnesty International team in Libya, said she has spoken with some families who told her their loved ones simply never came home, while others watched security forces take them away. She knows of four arrests in Benghazi but believes that in the west they have been picking up people on a “wider scale.”

“There are great concerns for anybody who was indeed taken and is now in detention in areas controlled by Libyan security forces,” she said. “The hopes of those people being released in the immediate future by Gadhafi’s forces … doesn’t look very hopeful.”

Abductions said to be a familiar tactic
The uprising that sparked the recent wave of abductions may have been sparked in part by Gadhafi’s use of such hard-ball tactics earlier in his four-decade reign.

Among the early participants in the protests, said El-Gasir, the Human Rights Solidarity representative, were families who lost loved ones in the 1996 massacre at Abu Salim prison, where an estimated 1,200 inmates were killed.

The killings began when prisoners in one block seized a guard bringing them food and hundreds of others escaped from their cells. The prisoners were upset over poor living conditions and limitations on family visits, according to a Human Rights Watch report.

Most of those killed in the two-day riot were political prisoners, many of whom had been abducted and imprisoned between 1989 and 1995, said Morayef.

“Disappearance has been a huge, huge issue in Libya — a long-term practice, a very abusive one,” she said. “The only way that missing/disappearances were resolved was (after the) end of 2008, when the Libyan government started issuing death certificates and then, all of the sudden, for the first time, they could have funerals — 13 years after the event,” she said.

“One of the tragedies is that the families for 13 years had waited or sought information. Some of them told me that they used to drive 13 hours to Tripoli, taking big sacks of food and clothing to leave outside the prison gates and they’d do this three times a year because that’s when you were allowed to hand in stuff,” she said. “And all of this time, they were actually dead.”

Ar-Rayani, of the Libyan League of Human Rights, said that based on Gadhafi’s track record, it’s “very likely” that those who have disappeared during the current unrest have been killed or were being tortured for more information about the protests, she said.

  1. Only on NBCNews.com
    1. OWN via Getty Images
      From belief to betrayal: How America fell for Armstrong
    2. pool via Reuters file
      US to Syria neighbors: Be ready to act on WMDs
    3. China: One-child policy is here to stay
    4. NRA: Practice Range
      New 'Practice Range' shooter game says it’s from NRA
    5. 'Gifted' priest indicted in crystal meth case
    6. AFP - Getty Images
      China's state media admits to air pollution crisis
    7. AFP - Getty Images
      French to send 1,000 more troops to Mali

“As a lot of cities have been liberated from government control, evidence of torture being used by the Libyan government has been uncovered, including an underground prison that was found underneath the military barracks in Benghazi,” she said. “If this was common practice for the regime when they weren't facing an uprising of this scale, we can be fairly confident that they are pursuing this tactic with renewed vigor at a time like this.”

When Elosta’s brother Salem called him for the last time to warn him, he knew he had to flee Libya. Though outside the country, he is still working to free Libya of Gadhafi. He said he does not regret attending that Friday protest with Salem, but he would regret his brother’s death if Gadhafi is not forced out.

“A dictatorship like this — killing our future, stealing our wealth, our resources of oil … and now he is killing our lives,” he said. “If this regime disappears and we have a free Libya, then we will be very proud we have done that, and I will be very proud of my brother that he has died for something very important for my country.

“The time now is not for regrets.”

© 2013 msnbc.com Reprints

Video: NATO to debate Libya no-fly zone

Photos: Libya's uprising against Gadhafi

loading photos...
  1. People gathering in Benghazi, Libya in mid-February of 2011 as protest against the rule of Moammar Gadhafi grew, in part triggered by the arrest of human rights activist Fethi Tarbel. EDITOR'S NOTE: The content, date and location of this image could not be independently verified. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Buildings at the entrance to a security forces compound burn in Benghazi, Feb. 21, 2011. Libyan protesters celebrated in the streets of Benghazi, claiming control of the country's second largest city after bloody fighting, and anti-government unrest spread to the capital with clashes in Tripoli's main square for the first time. (Alaguri / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi speaks on state television. Feb. 22, and signalled his defiance over a mounting revolt against his 41-year rule. (Libya TV via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Libyan U.N. ambassador Shalgham is embraced by Dabbashi, Libya's deputy U.N. Ambassador after denouncing Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi for the first time during a Security Council meeting at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York on Feb. 25. Shalgam, a longtime friend and member of Gadhafi's inner circle, had previously refused to denounce Gadhafi. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Thousands of Libyans gather for the Muslim Friday prayers outside the courthouse in the eastern city of Benghazi on Feb. 25, 2011. Perhaps 8,000 people gathered for the midday prayers with a local imam, who delivered his sermon alongside the coffins of three men killed in the violent uprising that routed Gadhafi loyalists from Benghazi. (Gianluigi Guercia / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Rebels hold a young man at gunpoint, who they accuse of being a loyalist to Gadhafi, between the towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf, March 3, 2011. (Goran Tomasevic / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Pro-Gadhafi soldiers and supporters gather in Green Square in Tripoli, March 6, 2011. Thousands of Moammar Gadhafi's supporters poured into the streets of Tripoli, waving flags and firing their guns in the air in the Libyan leader's main stronghold, claiming overnight military successes. (Ben Curtis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Rebel fighters jump away from shrapnel during heavy shelling by forces loyal to Gadhafi near Bin Jawad, March 6. Rebels in east Libya regrouped and advanced on Bin Jawad after Gadhafi forces ambushed rebel fighters and ejected them from the town earlier in the day. (Goran Tomasevic / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Libyan rebel fighters take cover as a bomb dropped by an airforce fighter jet explodes near a checkpoint on the outskirts of the oil town of Ras Lanuf on March 7, 2011. (Marco Longari / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Libyan rebels fire rockets at government troops on the frontline. March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf. The rebels pushed back government troops westward towards Ben Jawat. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Libyan government soldiers aboard tanks at the west gate of the town Ajdabiyah March 16, 2011. Libya's army pounded an opposition-held city in the country's west and battled fighters trying to block its advance on a rebel bastion in the east amid flagging diplomatic efforts to end the bloodshed. EDITOR'S NOTE: Picture taken on a government guided tour. (Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Libyan people in Benghazi celebrate after the United Nations Security Council authorized a no-fly zone over Libya, March 18. Thousands of Libyans erupted in cheers as the news flashed on a giant screen in besieged Benghazi late March 17. After weeks of discussion, the UN Security Council banned flights in Libya's airspace and authorized "all necessary means" to implement the ban, triggering intervention by individual countries and organizations like NATO. (EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. A picture combo shows a Libyan jet bomber crashing after being apparently shot down in Benghazi on March 19, 2011 as the Libyan rebel stronghold came under attack. Air strikes and sustained shelling of the city's south sent thick smoke into the sky. (Patrick Baz / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Residents of Benghazi flee the city along the road toward Tobruk, in an attempt to escape fighting in their city, March 19, 2011. Gaddafi's troops pushed into the outskirts of Benghazi, a city of 670,000 people, in an apparent attempt to pre-empt Western military intervention expected after a meeting of Western and Arab leaders in Paris. (Reuters TV) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Gadhafi explode after an air strike by coalition forces, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah March 20, 2011. (Goran Tomasevic / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A rebel fighter carries his weapon outside the northeastern Libyan town of Ajdabiyah, March 21, 2011. A wave of air strikes hit Gaddafi's troops around Ajdabiyah, a strategic town in the barren, scrub of eastern Libya that rebels aim to retake and where their fighters said they need more help. (Finbarr O'reilly / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. A Libyan rebel prays next to his gun on the frontline of the outskirts of the city of Ajdabiya, south of Benghazi, March 21, 2011. The international military intervention in Libya is likely to last "a while," a top French official said, echoing Moammar Gadhafi's warning of a long war ahead as rebels, energized by the strikes on their opponents. (Anja Niedringhaus / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Libyan rebels retreat as mortars from Gadhafi's forces are fired on them near the outskirts of the city of Ajdabiya, March 22, 2011. Coalition forces bombarded Libya for a third straight night, targeting the air defenses and forces of Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi, stopping his advances and handing some momentum back to the rebels, who were on the verge of defeat. (Anja Niedringhaus / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. A Libyan man is comforted by hospital staff as he reacts after identifying his killed brother in the morgue of the Jalaa hospital in Benghazi, March 22, 2011. His brother was killed earlier in fighting around the city of Ajdabiya. (Anja Niedringhaus / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Volunteer fighters training at a rebel army training camp in Benghazi, March 29, 2011. Pro-government forces intensified their attacks on Libyan rebels, driving them back over ground they had taken in recent days. The rebels had reached Nawfaliya, but pulled back to Bin Jawad. (Manu Brabo / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Smoke billows as seven explosions were reported in the tightly-guarded residence of leader Moammar Gadhafi and military targets in the suburb of Tajura. Two explosions also rocked the Libyan capital Tripoli on March 29, 2011, as NATO-led coalition aircraft had been seen in the skies over the capital. (Mahmud Turkia / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. A Libyan rebel urges people to leave, as shelling from Gadhafi's forces started landing on the frontline outside of Bin Jawaad, 93 miles east of Sirte, March 29, 2011. (Anja Niedringhaus / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. General Abdel-Fattah Younis, former interior minister in the Gadhafi regime who defected in the early days of the uprising, is greeted by Libyan rebels at the front line near Brega, April 1, 2011. (Altaf Qadri / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Libyan men show the V-sign for victory as they stand on the deck of a Turkish ship arriving from Misrata to the port of Benghazi who were evacuated along with others the injured in the fighting between rebel and Gadhafi forces, April 03, 2011. The Turkish vessel took hundreds of people wounded in the Libyan uprising for treatment in Turkey from the two cities of Misrata and Benghazi. (Mahmud Hams / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. A wounded prisoner from Gadhafi's forces is transported in the back of a pickup truck by rebels, on the way to a hospital for treatment, half way between Brega and Ajdabiya, April 9, 2011. Rebels say they took two prisoners after a clash with soldiers near Brega's university outside the government-controlled oil facilities, marking a noticeable advance by rebels. (Ben Curtis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. In this image taken from TV, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi makes a pubic appearance in Tripoli, April 14 2011. Gadhafi defiantly waved at his supporters while being driven around Tripoli while standing up through the sunroof of a car. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. A rebel fighter celebrates as his comrades fire a rocket barrage toward the positions of government troops April 14, 2011, west of Ajdabiyah. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Gadhafi supporters hold copies of his portrait as they gather at the Bab Al Azizia compound in Tripoli, April 15, 2011. Rebels held much of eastern Libya by mid-April, while Gadhafi controlled the west, with the front line shifting back and forth in the middle. (Pier Paolo Cito / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Doctors work on a baby who suffered cuts from shrapnel that blasted through the window of his home during fighting in the besieged city of Misrata, April 18, 2011. Thousands of civilians are trapped in Misrata as fighting continues between Libyan government forces that have surrounded the city and anti-government rebels there. The Libyan government has come under international criticism for using heavy weapons and artillery in its assault on Misrata. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. MISRATA, LIBYA - APRIL 20: Libyan rebel fighters discuss how to dislodge some ensconced government loyalist troops who were firing on them from the next room during house-to-house fighting on Tripoli Street in downtown Misrata April 20, 2011 in Misrata, Libya. Rebel forces assaulted the downtown positions of troops loyal to Libyan strongman Moammar Gaddafi April 20, briefly forcing them back over a key bridge and trapping several in a building that fought back instead of surrendering, firing on the rebels in the building and seriously wounding two of them during the standoff. Fighting continues between Libyan government forces that have surrounded the city and anti-government rebels ensconced there. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images) (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Libyan rebel fighters carry out a comrade wounded during an effort to dislodge some ensconced government loyalist troops who were firing on them from a building during house-to-house fighting on Tripoli Street in downtown Misrata April 20, 2011. Rebel forces assaulted the downtown positions of troops loyal to Gaddafi, briefly forcing them back over a key bridge and trapping several in a building where they fought back instead of surrendering. Two rebels were seriously wounded during the standoff. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Rebels tread carefully as they prepare to invade a house where soldiers from the pro-government forces had their base in the Zwabi area of Misrata on April 24, 2011. (Andre Liohn / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Libyans inspect damage and an unexploded missile at the Gadhafi family compound in a residential area of Tripoli, May 1, 2011. Gadhafi escaped a NATO missile strike in Tripoli that killed one of his sons and three young grandchildren. EDITOR'S NOTE: Photo taken on a government guided tour. (Darko Bandic / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Moammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, center, leaves the funeral of his brother Saif Al-Arab Gadhafi, who was killed during air strikes by coalition forces, at the El Hani cemetery in Tripoli, May 2, 2011. Crowds chanting Gadhafi's name gathered in Tripoli for the funeral of his son and three grandchildren. (Louafi Larbi / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. Fleeing migrants and Libyans are seen on board an International Organization of Migration ship leaving the port of Misrata on May 4, 2011, as Gadhafi forces continued to pound the city. (Christophe Simon / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Libyan men watch as the main fuel depot in Libya's third largest city, Misrata, burns following a bombing by Gadhafi's forces on May 7, 2011. Libyan regime forces shelled fuel depots in Misrata and dropped mines into its harbor using helicopters bearing the Red Cross emblem, rebels said as they braced for a ground assault. (Ricardo Garcia Vilanova / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Libyan rebels celebrate near the airport of Misrata on May 11, 2011 after capturing the city's strategic airport following a fierce battle with Moammar Gadhafi's troops -- their first significant advance in weeks. (Ricardo Garcia Vilanova / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Women react after a protest against Moammar Gadhafi's regime in Benghazi, Libya, on May 16, 2011. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, announced that he would seek arrest warrants against the leader of Libya, Moammar Gadhafi, his son Seif al-Islam and the country's intelligence chief on charges of crimes against humanity. (Rodrigo Abd / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. Tripoli street in Misrata is seen from the terrace of a building used by Gadhafi’s snipers before the rebels took control of the area on May 22, 2011. The weeks-long siege of the city ended in mid-May and Tripoli Street was the site of the fiercest fighting in the battle and a turnin point in the war. (Rodrigo Abd / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. A rebel fighter gives water to a soldier loyal to Gadhafi after he was wounded and then captured near the front line, west of Misrata on May 23, 2011. (Rodrigo Abd / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. An uncle, left, prays over the body of one and a half year-old Mohsen Ali al-Sheikh during a washing ritual during the funeral at his family's house in Misrata, May 27, 2011. The child was killed by a gunshot during clashes between rebels and pro-Gadhafi forces earlier in the day. (Wissam Saleh / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. The body of a drowned refugee floats near a capsized ship which was transporting an estimated 850 refugees from Libya, approximately 22 miles north of the Tunisian islands of Kerkennah, June 4, 2011. At least 578 survived the sinking. (Lindsay Mackenzie / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. A photograph taken from a video by a National Transitional Council (NTC) fighter shows Mutassem Gadhafi, son of Moammar Gadhafi, drinking water and smoking a cigarette following his capture and shortly before his death, in Sirte, Oct. 20, 2011. (- / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. A photograph taken from mobile phone video of a National Transitional Council (NTC) fighter shows the capture of Moammar Gadhafi in Sirte on Oct. 20, 2011. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. This image provided by the Libyan Youth Group on Nov. 19, 2011, shows Seif al-Islam Gadhafi after he was captured near the Niger border with Libya. Moammar Gadhafi's son, the only wanted member of the ousted ruling family to remain at large, was captured as he traveled with aides in a convoy in Libya's southern desert. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  1. Image: A photo said to show people gathering during recent days' unrest in Benghazi, Libya. The content, date and location of the image could not be independently verified.
    AP
    Above: Slideshow (81) Conflict in Libya
  2. Image: TO GO WITH AFP PACKAGE ON THE 40TH ANNIV
    AFP - Getty Images
    Slideshow (34) Moammar Gadhafi through the years

Interactive: Libya uprising: The latest

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments