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Control and Crucifixions: Life in Libya under IS

libya isis

Five years after the violent uprising that brought down Libya’s Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, fighters from so-called Islamic State (IS) have established a base in the coastal city of Sirte.

With an estimated 1,500 fighters in the city, they have started to impose their own rule of law, with dress codes for men and women, segregation in school classrooms and the establishment of a religious police.

Punishments inflicted on residents, for crimes ranging from theft or alcohol production to “spying”, include imprisonment, amputations, public crucifixions and beheadings. The group has set up its own “police force” and is reported to be carrying out house to house searches and forcing people to attend Islamic re-education classes.

The head of intelligence in nearby Misrata says most of the IS fighters who control Sirte are foreigners – from Tunisia, Iraq or Syria.

Access to the city is dangerous for journalists and there is limited communication with people who live there – often for fear of retributions. We spoke to people who have been forced to leave the city, to escape Islamic State.

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