The Italian coastguard rescues two of the 156 survivors of the October 3 tragedy off Lampedusa Island. Lampedusa, the closest Italian island to Africa, has become a destination for tens of thousands of refugees seeking to reach Western Europe. / credit: Guardia Costiera

PODCAST: Thousands of Refugees Are Languishing in Libyan Jails

In mid September, I was sitting next to the journalist Sally Hayden while attending a press briefing near the United Nations when phone started buzzing with WhatsApp messages.  Refugees and migrants stranded in a prison in Libya had gotten her number and were sending her messages describing awful details of their confinement.

These refugees were stranded in prison because of a deal worked out between the Libyan Coast Guard and Italian government. Thousands of refugees and migrants, mostly from Eastern and Sub-saharan Africa, are languishing indefinitely in confinement in Libya after having been captured by Libyan coast guard units as they tried to make their way to Italy. This has resulted in an ongoing human rights catastrophe as prisoners are left alone in jail cells, often without food or water.

As Sally Hayden explains, this has resulted in an unbelievably awful human rights calamity that is not getting the attention it deserves.  In this episode, Sally Hayden explains this unfolding crisis.

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