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Dublin doctor's horror at atrocities

A Libyan doctor based in Ireland has condemned Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's atrocious treatment of his citizens.

Dr Idris Founas lives and works in Galway but was in his hometown of Benghazi when the rebellion against the country's dictator of more than 40 years started in February.

He immediately volunteered his services to the local hospital which was quickly swamped with patients as the uprising started in the city on the east coast, before spreading to the west and the capital of Tripoli.

"I have lived in Ireland for the last 15 years. I was in Libya because my dad passed away two days before the revolution," he told the Herald.

"At first it was a peaceful demonstration. Everyone was taking part in it. The government arrested a solicitor, so people made another demonstration on February 17, and that's when they started shooting people, so I joined the main hospital in the area.

"What I saw there was unbelievable, people were shot to be killed -- to the head, to the chest -- and straight away [Gaddafi's supporters] started using weapons to kill.

"The people fighting were 14 to 45 years old. Most of the people were men in their twenties, although I did see one woman and a baby killed.

"I joined the casualties ward there. All the medical staff was shocked. We expected some minor injuries from the demonstration but we never thought there would be killing like this -- people arrived with half their bodies, half their heads, no hands, sometimes, or legs."

The endocrinologist and his wife have four children aged six to 13, who go to school in Ireland. He explained that he left his home country for political reasons but hopes to go back some day with his family.

"I am an Irish national, I feel free here but your home is your home at the end of the day, it is where you are born and to feel freedom in your country is unbelievable."

hnews@herald.ie