Male rape is being used systematically in Libya as an instrument of war and political domination by rival factions, according to multiple testimonies gathered by investigators.
Years of work by a Tunis-based group and witnessed by a journalist from Le Monde have produced harrowing reports from victims, and video footage showing men being sodomised by various objects, including rockets and broom handles.
In several instances, witnesses say a victim was thrown into a room with other prisoners, who were ordered to rape him or be killed.
The atrocity is being perpetrated to humiliate and neutralise opponents in the lawless, militia-dominated country. Male rape is such a taboo in Arab societies that the abused generally feel too damaged to rejoin political, military or civic life.
One man, Ahmed, told investigators he was detained for four years in a prison in Tomina, on the outskirts of Misrata.
“They separate you to subjugate you,” he said. “‘Subjugate the men’, that’s the expression that they use. So that you never hold your head up again. And they were filming everything with their phones.
“They take a broom and fix it on the wall. If you want to eat, you have to take off your pants, back on to the broom and not move off until the jailer sees blood flowing. Nobody can escape it.”