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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dr. Sabril Mohammed: Status Request

October 12, 2011
last edits Oct 14

I know little about the man I would kindly ask (via this post only, for now) Human Rights Groups, and/or the Libyan government in Tripoli, and/or the man himself, to make public the current status of. I wonder about Dr. Mohammed Sabril and, in fact, all of the exceptional people spoken to in this rare Sky News report from, I think, a couple months back:
(not available on Sky's channel)

They fled from either the Benghazi area or the Nafusah mountains, having to take circuitous routes to avoid rebel controllers who'd likely arrest them for defecting from under their control (another video covers this aspect better - link when I come across it again). They were living then in a government-run shelter in Tripoli, all for the moment clearly relieved to be safe among their own kind. Several shared stories of violence, killing, and disappearances of loyalists like themselves, a sense of repression and a need to hide, and constant fear of unpredictable violence. "Persecuted for their beliefs," as the reporter put it.

Since then, the rebels have caught up to them and taken Tripoli too, leaving nowhere else to run from them except overseas. One wonders how they're adjusting, and how suddenly they were forced to.

The doctor interviewed here isn't named, but the info below gives the name I use. He also spoke to Russia Today (cited in a video of mine at 7:00), giving his name there as Dr. Sabri, formerly a surgeon at Benghazi's al-Jalaa hospital. That facility came into rebel hands somehow in the early days; there were reports this happened after its managing director was killed on February 18, day three of "protests," his body tortured (see: Video Study: Hospital Brutality).

Dr. Sabri, Sky News
Here, to Sky News, Dr. Sabri says he fled from Benghazi because he feared he'd be killed for daring to treat government soldiers, as he had sworn to do. He says he also witnessed a loyalist soldier with a head wound taken from his bed by armed rebels. Two times he tried to stop them, but failed to prevent them slitting the man's throat. To RT, he specified they killed him in front of the intensive are unit and then somehow hanged his body "on the wall of  the Jalaa hospital."

He reflected for Sky's camera "if I had known our hospital in Benghazi would become a machine of killing, to save him, maybe I - I [inaudible, choking up].

Some would be tempted to dismiss this as loyalist propaganda, but we've seen plenty of precedent, before then and since (see also the aftermath of their first day managing Abu Salim trauma hospital) and similar treatment in the same exact  hospital (see either link in the second paragraph). The latter is apparently a different incident from what Sabri described, another among probably several episodes of cruelty at that one hospital. There, a bloodied black patient who can barely stand up is chased and dragged out of the hospital and repeatedly kicked, stomped, and hacked with machetes by a casually enraged crowd. It's not clear if he survived or not.

So this was serious shit the doctor and many others witnessed, and some number participated in. And he ran way from it, showing a suspicious bad faith in rebel management, possible Gaddafi loyalty, and certainly a desire to make them look bad to the world. He's surely not popular with the new government in Tripoli.  He has been fully open and made himself easy enough to identify. And well... I for one am curious if he's still alive and free, or has he disappeared, or faced any unfair reprisals for acting on his fears and then his conscience? I'd like to see him interviewed again.

The same question applies to many, many thousands of others I haven't had pop to my attention like this.

Any further notes on Dr.Sabri, the Jalaa hospital, etc. will be posted below.
Oct. 13/14 - name update: I started this post referring to a "Dr. Sabri," as RT had it, but as Felix alerts me, I didn't read the full description beneath the Youtube video of Sky News. It's also on their site, and apparently gives his name. Presumably from the original report, it says in part:
...a doctor who had also fled from Benghazi. Dr Sabril Mohammed said he feared for his life and his family's lives after witnessing the killing of a Libyan soldier. He said he treated a soldier who came in with superficial head wounds. He said the soldier was transferred to another hospital and then he was attacked and his throat was cut. Fighting back tears the doctor told us: "They tried to kill me because I tried to protect my patients. I left Benghazi because I treated all patients including soldiers."
So there's some ambiguity; it seems one of the two got the name wrong. For now I'm going with RT, but it could be the other way around. And there's some ambiguity about where the killing happened - in front of ICU or at another hospital. There's also another Dr. Sabri Mohammed, rebel doctor it seems by his calls for foreign air support, in Ajdabiya, interviewed by PBS in early March and some other sources. This is a different, younger man on-screen.


  1. The doctor is called Dr Sabril Mohammed in the full description under the Sky News video, rather than Dr Sabri. This is the only internet reference to him, so probably a mistake. However, there are other references to a Dr Sabri Mohammed of Ajdabia Hospital.Listen here
    "In the main hospital at Ajdabiya, seven wounded in the fighting are getting what treatment is available. For the most part, they are gunshot and shrapnel wounds. The doctors here are being told by colleagues in Brega of many more dead and injured who can't yet be evacuated.

    DR. SABRI MOHAMMED, Ajdabiya Hospital: There are lots of injured there who they cannot send them there. And there are no supplies there, OK? I'm talking about supplies. I'm talking about doctors. I'm talking about medical supply in general. There are nothing there.

    JAMES MATES: Nothing in Brega?

    DR. SABRI MOHAMMED: Yes, there's nothing there. OK? It's a massacre. Right now, it's a massacre, OK?"

    (i.e. only a quoted massacre)

    And Dr Sabri got a headline in the Irish Times on 9 March 2011. Mary Fitzgerald reporting from Benghazi quotes the doctor, who must be visiting the east....
    "“We have faced some very bloody days and we are expecting things to get much worse,” says Dr Sabri Mohammed, who has been treating injured fighters and civilians at a hospital in the rebel-held town of Ajdabiya.

    We just want to see a no-fly zone to protect the people. Then they can fight on the ground.”"

    He was also telling NBC news on
    2 March that it is a massacre - all very helpful for installing a no fly zone and military intervention on 17th March (UN res 1973).
    Same guy? Where is he from?? Libya? Or somewhere else?

  2. btw, wondered if you had seen this photo set by Franco Pagetti from Feb 2011 showing, well, the usual in Benghazi and Al Jala'a Hospital. i.e. nothing conclusive, just emotive photos some of which could have been staged for his benefit. Most hospitals have a steady stream of patients and operations throughout the year.....

    He also photographed Africans stranded at Benghazi at the the end of February, who were prevented from boarding evacuation boats and placed in displacement camps.

    He also covered the alleged Katiba / Mahdi Ziu suicide bomber of 20 February, as in pics 2 & 3 here.

  3. On the Dr., thanks. Updating now.

    NBC link isn't working. Did it look like the same guy? I'll consider as I update...

    On the photos, wow. Those interest me, and I see potentially revealing details. Is that a huge amount of blood dripping down from the window inside the Katiba basement? Will report back.

    Hey, I'm taking applications for trustworthy team members, who can put up and maintain quality posts without messing up my stuff.

  4. This is the NBC page...
    Libya / Uprising

    03/02/2011 05:34:10 pm-05:39:20 pm Wednesday NBC
    (Studio: Brian Williams) The uprising in Libya introduced.
    (Benghazi: Stephanie Gosk) Libyan leader Muammar el-Kadhafi’s offensive against the rebels in the eastern towns reviewed; scenes shown of fighting in the oil town of Brega, the air strike on a weapons depot in Ajdabiya, an injured boy, volunteers signing up in Benghazi to join the rebels, a protest against Kadhafi. [Voice of opposition FIGHTER – says the situation is slaughter.] [Ajdabiya Hospital Dr. Sabri MOHAMMED†- says it’s a massacre.]

    (Tripoli: Jim Maceda) Kadhafi’s speech to supporters and journalists in which he claimed there is no uprising featured; scenes shown from Tripoli; details given about his eccentric behavior. [Council on Foreign Relations president Richard HAASS†- says you don’t run a country for 4 decades by being a flake.]

    (Studio: Brian Williams) Report introduced.

    (Tripoli: Richard Engel) The contrast in mood between Benghazi and Tripoli featured.

  5. I have collected videos from the Benghazi morgue into a playlist named "Feb 17 bodies":


    Two interrelated videos relate to the burned bodies in the green body bags.

    سقوط كتيبة الفضيل بوعمر بنغازي
    (The fall of the battalion holy Buamr Benghazi)
    Uploaded by Nadirnabous on Mar 12, 2011

    This video shows a charred body in military uniform outside a burning military compound. Note the distinctive blanket he is wrapped in.

    بعض ما حصل في كتيبة الفضيل أثناء الهجوم عليها
    (Some of what happened in the battalion during the attack upon the holy)
    Uploaded by 4libyafreedom on Mar 2, 2011

    This video shows the same body at the Benghazi morgue, being transferred from the blanket into one of the green body bags.

    I do not know if this set of charred bodies was paraded in front of journalists as proof of "Gaddafi crimes." The burnt soldiers in body bags were supposedly killed by Gaddafi for refusing to shoot at protesters. (I have not been able to find the video.)


  6. A small but curious point - the El-Hawari or Al-Hawari General Hospital in Benghazi - بنغازي ‎مستشفى الهواري is one of the largest in Libya, yet hardly seemed to get a mention in reports in February compared with Al Jala'a. But there is some strong stuff in this YouTube video of 24 February from there. It doesn't look like they wanted it to be filmed. There was a large Filipino contingent working there until evacuation.

  7. Also: horrific injuries and deaths of children in Sirte:
    Sept. 25: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hobDCtmx0xo
    Sept. 25: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCj5EMC8RG4
    Sept. 23: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUPuqdBBRN0

  8. *

    report #Libya : #benghazi is hell.. #benghazians are trying to escape city and leave to #egypt .. Rush was so great consulate had to close

    benghazi december 2012


    Within the hospital fightings, disorganization, suddenly an armed group enters the ICU to kill someone and and go quietly without even hiding.

    Some doctors kill patients for being green.
    They can't treat patients of Bani Walid and Sirte.
    Even patients who need dialysis are denied if they from Bani Walid or Sirte.

    Many doctors disagree but close their mouths to avoid being killed.


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