On 21 December, UNSMIL confirmed in a statement the death of former Government of National Accord (GNA) Minister of Defense Mahdi al-Barghathi and some of his companions in Libyan National Army (LNA) custody in Benghazi. UNSMIL expressed its concern over the death of al-Barghati and noted that this came following his reported arrest by authorities on 7 October along with dozens of others, including a number of his family members.
The statement said that ‘seven of those detained, including al-Barghathi and one of his sons, are confirmed dead, with disturbing allegations of ill-treatment and torture in custody.’ It added that ‘given limited official information, the exact cause of these deaths remains unclear.’ Reportedly, forty other individuals from al-Barghati’s group remain missing.
The mission called on the ‘competent Libyan authorities to conduct an independent and transparent investigation into the deaths and provide information on the fate of those still missing.’ For the time being, neither civil authorities in the eastern region nor the LNA have made any comment on al-Barghathi’s death.
On 3 January, the Attorney General Sadiq al-Sour said in a press conference that the case of Mahdi al-Barghathi is before the military prosecution because it took place by military personnel and inside a military barracks.