Libya Rebels Dig Up Mass Grave
More than 1,200 were executed after 1996 prison riot
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2011 2:07 PM CDT
People hold bone fragments at the site which is thought to be a possible mass grave near to Abu Salim prison in Tripoli, Libya, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011.   (AP Photo/Abdel Magid al-Fergany)
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(Newser) – Rebels in Libya have uncovered a mass grave of more than 1,200 people that rekindled brutal memories of a prison riot 15 years ago, CNN reports. Revolutionaries say they discovered the grave last week outside Abu Salim prison in Tripoli, where prisoners rioted over restricted family visits and poor conditions in the summer of 1996. Officials pretended to negotiate with prisoners while secretly calling in firing squads; soon, rioters were lined up and gunned down.

"There is a lot more to be done to reach the actual truth of this massacre," says Dr. Salem Fergani, a member of Libya's transitional government. "To be honest, we were not prepared to deal with such human massacres, so we request the assistance of the international community." So far only media and family members have visited the site, where bones and clothing are spread over a 100-yard area. Identifying the bodies with DNA may take years, Fergani says.