The images – faces of hundreds who have died at the hands of Qaddafi’s regime – are a potent reminder of the stakes of this conflict. In a very real way, they underscore the urgency of the rebel battle cry, "We win or we die," a slogan borrowed from anticolonial fighter Omar Mukhtar, whose jihad against Italy ended with his execution in 1931.
The reprisals may have already started. The drivers for three foreign news crews detained by Qaddafi’s forces – from CNN, AFP, and The New York Times – have remained missing after the foreign journalists’ release.
Amnesty International said yesterday it has documented “dozens” of cases of Libyan’s detained and not heard from again since the uprising began here in mid-February.
“These detainees and disappeared persons are at grave risk of torture and other serious human rights abuses,” the group said, recalling a “long pattern of … enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, prolonged arbitrary detention, torture, and other ill-treatment” in Qaddafi’s Libya.
Some of the posters at Benghazi's courthouse feature martyrs of the present, such as Ahmed el-Dahlan, a 23-year-old engineering student who stormed the Benghazi barracks in the furious early days of the uprising then became a militia member. He was killed when Ajdabiya was overrun by Qaddafi’s forces two weeks ago.