last update April 15, 2012
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Alleged escapee Abdulatti (or Abdul Arti) Musbah (or Mosbah) Bin-Halim (or Haleem), aged 43, a cement buyer (or construction worker) from Zlitan, was one of the first to speak up about the fabled shed massacre of August 23. After barely survivng it, within 48 hours, he was at Tripoli Medical Center, photographed by Heathcliff O'Malley with a bandaged right lower leg. (the photo appears in small form here, and larger but stamped form here, and mega-stamped here. He's given as "Abdul Arti Mosbah bin Halim, a construction worker that survived a massacre of up to 200 inmates at Yarmouk prison..." His lower right leg is bandaged, ankle area apparently still bleeding, but nothing else on him seems terribly injured from the machine guns and grenades that allegedly killed a now-accepted 106.
He's confirmed by an Arabic list on Facebook as among three freed rebel prisoners in Tripoli “injured but in good condition at Tripoli Medical Center.” Another of the three is Mohammed Gibran Ahbich.
Also on the 25th, he spoke to Andrew Gilligan of the UK Telegraph as Abdulatti Musbah Haleem. This was before the media rush of the 27th-29th, making him either the first or the among the very few who spoke to the media this early. As with all the witnesses to follow, he apparently spoke before the details were all worked out.
The article in question is obscure now. The telegraph never seem to have had it on their site at all. A Canadian re-posting has been pulled down. A few copies remain at message boards and a rebel news aggregator site. Most of these were dated August 26, but one re-posting is from 2:15 am that day, linking to yet another Canadian version no longer available, and headed so:
Andrew Gilligan. “Children 'among 180 slaughtered' in Libya.” The Daily Telegraph. August 25, 2011. Extended citations (actually the whole thing, in chunks) follow.
A group of about 180 civilian prisoners, seven of them children, were massacred by Gadhafi forces earlier this week, one of the survivors has told The Daily Telegraph.200? That's a large number. Most witnesses that would come forward say there were about or exactly 153 prisoners to begin with. The location is given correctly for, I believe, the first time (see Shed Massacre Chronologies for details on the following). Amnesty International would report it the same way on the morning of the 26th. The mysterious Misrata fighter dispatch of dawn on the 24th (140 bodies found, killed with guns and grenades) gave no locale. Munir el Goula had just spoken to Channel 4 on the 25th, apparently saying the massacre (120 or more, guns and grenades) happened in Mansoura, near Bab al Aziziyah. The next day, the 26th, rebel militia leader Mletga would say it happened inside Gaddafi's compound (150, guns and grenades).
The slaughter took place on Tuesday at the al-Yarmouk military base in the suburbs of Tripoli, according to the survivor, Abdulatti Musbah Haleem.
Gadhafi troops and Tuareg mercenary fighters attacked a group of 200 prisoners with rifles, machine guns and hand-grenades, he said, leaving the bodies on the ground.
Rebels said Gadhafi troops later tried to burn the bodies to destroy the evidence.
The last part there, about burning the bodies, is interesting. The 24th dispatch about 140 massacred prisoners mentioned no burning, but the follow-up message of the 25th (app. 9:30 am) mentioned that at least some were badly burnt. They acknowledge no awareness of the burnt bodies in the shed until taking the base on the 26th. The burning had to have happened well after the witnesses had gotten away from there, so how else could they know this early unless they were there when the burning happened?
Mr Haleem, a 43-year-old cement buyer from Zliten, near Misurata, said he was captured by Gadhafi forces near the town last week. He was carrying a gun for protection but was not fighting, he said.
While in captivity in Zliten, he was subjected to days of torture, with burns and the marks of shackles clearly visible as he lay at the Tripoli Medical Centre hospital.
He said he was transferred by the Gadhafi forces to the military base last week.
“There were about 200 of us in a hangar at the base,” he said. “There were seven children and a number of pensioners. We were all men and boys. The youngest was 14 and the oldest was 70. We were kept there for days with virtually no food and water.
Note, as is common, the injuries he can show are from detention elsewhere - mostly Zliten - while the close assault with guns and grenades rarely leaves a mark at all, letalone a single missing arm or disfigured face.
“On Tuesday we were very excited to hear the news of the fall of Bab al-Aziziyah [Gadhafi's compound]. The guards told us that it was all over and we were going to go home that day. One of the guards was from Zliten and I knew him. He said he would unlock the door and all we had to do was undo the latch and then we could escape.
“We undid the door. The first of us went out and were met with a hail of bullets. We ran back inside the hangar but they followed us and threw in six hand grenades. Then they started spraying us randomly with gunfire, which lasted for several minutes.”
Mr Haleem was hit by bullets and shrapnel but managed to run behind a stack of tires which offered some protection.
The bullet and shrapnel injuries were stated. The shackle marks clearly visible. Why the difference?
Further notes forthcoming...
How he, and everyone, escaped
After the firing stopped he and about 30 others ran out through a hole they had made in the hangar wall.If I did the math right, that's 30 people all escaping, all via the hole in the wall, which they somehow made all of a sudden and "ran" through, and none went by the door. None did the hole escape the smart way, instead doing like Bashir did (see the link) and choosing to stay in the compound and risk getting shot again. 18 of these survived, 12 died running, and we have at least 12 bodies outside the shed. That's everyone, leaving about 182 dead.
“Some of us did not make it because they started shooting again.” He reached a nearby house, where he was given shelter by the residents.
“There were about 200 people in there and as far as I know only 18 survived,” said Mr Haleem.
It all adds up. Too bad it's a crock of human excrement that produced it.
More thoughts later...
And the article's last line:
A doctor at the hospital said 163 people had been killed at the site. He said about 20 survivors had been treated.Sky News, August 27. That's where Dr. Salem al-Farjani worked! What a coincidence!