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In an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19, Libyan authorities released more than 450 prisoners. Close to 8 people are so far affected by the virus in the country. A total of 466 detainees have been released from the correctional facilities in Tripoli.

The detainees were in pre-trial detention or had qualified for conditional release, the statement read. The statement added that other measures “aimed at reducing the overpopulation of prisons” will follow, including amnesty for elderly or ill prisoners and those who have served over half their sentences.

Appreciating the country’s effort Human Rights Watch called it a “positive first step”, but said, “authorities should do more to mitigate the risks of a major COVID-19 outbreak”. It added that Libyan authorities “need to be prepared to limit the spread of the virus in overcrowded detention facilities and shelters for displaced people”.

Libya had reported its first case of Covid-19 last Tuesday, a 73-year-old man who had returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia in early March.

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