TRIPOLI, Libya — Blood pours from the man’s head, collecting in a pool on the concrete floor. Minutes before he had stood stripped to his underwear and pleading.
At first, former Libyan rebels from the coastal town of Zuwarah slapped him about the face, accusing him of being an informant for Moammar Kadafi. Then the beating increased in intensity as the man, Ahmed Salel, collapsed, hands stretched above his head.
The scene, recorded on a cellphone, ends with Salel, a former Libyan soldier abducted from a market in December, lying motionless but alive.
Retribution is the new law of the land in Libya. Summary executions, arbitrary arrests, torture and indefinite detention have emerged while the judicial system remains in a state of paralysis.
The result, rights groups charge, is an environment of impunity. In a country whose revolution’s defining moment was arguably the apparent execution in October of Kadafi in captivity — a possible war crime that remains unpunished — dangerous precedents have been set.