Tripoli, 27 December:
The trials of ten men accused of involvement in the Yarmouk Detention Camp massacre on 23-24 August last . . .[restrict]year are to start in January.
The Yarmouk Massacre Victims Association says that it has been told that the first case will take place on 6 January. Yakhlif Sifawi, Abdul-Razak Baruni, Juma Daqdouq and Mohamed Harous are accused of torture and torturing unnamed victims to death at the camp.
A second case, known as “the Slovenian company case” (a reference to the company that ran the compound before it was taken over, as a makeshift prison) involves five named defendants: Hamza Mabruk Muftah Harizi, Marwan Emhemed Khalifa Gaddoura, Musbah Mohamed Musbah Ajim, Naji Massoud Najjar and Sami Saleh Ragie. Their trial is set for 8 January 2013.
The third case involves just one defendant: Sergeant-Major Hamza Mabrouk Muftah El-Harizi. He is accused of mass murder. This case is said to be being handled by a military court.
The massacre took place at a makeshift prison in the Khalat Al-Forjan neighbourhood of Tripoli’s Salahaddin district, which had been taken over by the infamous 32nd Brigade, more usually known as the Khamis Brigade. Its military compound was next door.
The exact number of people murdered is unknown. Survivors say that there were 153 men at a roll-call on the morning of the first day of the massacre. Fifty-three skulls were found in one location and other corpses were discovered in a nearby shallow grave but there was a deliberate attempt to destroy victims’ bodies. There are known to be at least 20 survivors.
A report by the US-based Physicians for Human Rights concluded that the crimes were probably committed by a small group of soldiers.
The Yarmouk association has urged survivors as well as families of those killed to attend the trials and keep track of the cases. It added that a number of people believed to have been involved in the massacre are still at large, including the officer in charge of the camp at the time, Colonel Mohamed Mansour Dhau. [/restrict]