Ousted Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi kidnapped and raped hundreds of teenagers in specially built sex dungeons, according to a television documentary to be screened by the BBC next week.
The program, "Storyville: Mad Dog – Gadhafi's Secret World," will be broadcast in the UK on February 3. Previews of the documentary were carried in the British media on Sunday.
Victims and witnesses state in the documentary that Gadhafi would choose his targets on visits to schools or colleges, patting on the head those who caught his eye.
His security officials would then take the victim to one of several specially designed suites of rooms, where they would be abused and raped by the dictator. In one such suite at Tripoli University, there is a fully-equipped gynecological examination room, where victims were tested for sexually transmitted diseases before being sexually abused.
"Some were only 14," recalled one teacher at a Tripoli school. "They would simply take the girl they wanted. They had no conscience, no morals, not an iota of mercy, even though she was a mere child."
Some of the girls were held for years, while others were dumped with appalling injuries.
"One just disappeared and they never found her again, despite her father and brothers searching for her. Another was found three months later, cut, raped and lying in the middle of a park. She had been left for dead."
Some victims were drafted into Gadhafi's unit of private female bodyguards, enduring years of rape and abuse and forced to witness the execution of opponents to the regime.
"Early one morning, we were taken to a closed hall," one former member recalled. "We were to witness the murder of 17 students. We were not allowed to scream. We were made to cheer and shout. To act as though we were delighted by this display. Inside I was crying. They shot them all, one by one."
"The women would first be raped by the dictator then passed on, like used objects, to one of his sons and eventually to high-ranking officials for more abuse," said Benghazi-based psychologist Seham Sergewa, who interviewed victims for the International Criminal Court.
Boys were also forced to serve in Gadhafi's harem. "He was terribly sexually deviant," recalled former chief of protocol Nuri Al Mismari. "Young boys and so on. He had his own boys. They used to be called the 'services group'."
In making the film, the documentary makers also uncovered evidence that Gadhafi used a private hit squad based in Cuba to eliminate opponents, and kept the bodies of victims in freezers.
Baha Kikhia was the wife of a foreign minister who had a fractious relationship with the dictator and went missing. When Gadhafi's regime fell, she found out that her husband's body was among those stored.
"He liked to keep his victims in the refrigerators to look at them now and again," she said. "He would visit his victims. It was as though they were some sort of macabre souvenirs. Something that he could look at and touch to remind himself of his omnipotence. Some had been there as long as 25 years."
Gadhafi was dragged from a drainpipe and shot by rebels in 2011, during Libya's civil war.
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