Wedad Ftieta, 52, holds her grandson Ahmed, who is named after her late husband. The elder Ahmed was killed in Libya’s Abu Salim Prison during a massacre by guards under Muammar Gaddafi’s command June 28-29, 1996. Over 1,200 prisoners were killed.
‘I was three months pregnant when he was captured. When he was in England he joined a student’s union against Gaddafi. He came back in April 18th, 1986. Twenty days later, he was captured. After they captured him, I didn’t know where he was until 1988. When I went to visit him, they humiliated us. They would throw my food on the ground and watch me collect the pieces. I was given 10 minutes per visit. There were signs of torture on his body, but he never said anything about it. I heard they would leave men alone in a room with a wild dog to attack them. He lost a lot of weight, I felt huge around him. My last visit with him was in May of 1996, less than a month before the massacre. He told me the prison was spooky and gray and that there was something going on. The visits were stopped after the massacre. I heard there was shooting, but no one knew anything. Only after Tripoli fell did I know that he was really dead.’
Photos by Sarah Elliott, from The Widows of Abu Salim