Three brothers have been crucified by Islamic State militants, according to Libyan media, after one of the brothers was accused of supporting the Libyan government, an act the extremist group considers to be apostasy under Shariah law.
Mohamed, Ali and Faraj Harir, members of a well-known local family, were publicly crucified as a warning to other residents of the town of Derma not to challenge the Islamic State’s authority, the Christian Post reported.
The Libya Herald published a graphic photo of the mutilated bodies that were strung up by their hands and necks with blue and red rope and propped outside the Islamic State’s court.
The Libyan publication described the executions, which occurred late last month, as “horrific.”
Newsweek reported that besides the three Harir brothers, at least two Harir sisters as well as a fourth brother were also killed by the Islamic State after family members clashed with the group.
"They took them and crucified them near the court," an Islamic State activist who witnessed the crucifixion told Newsweek. "They were kept for five hours and then some of the elders came and took them to bury them.”
The men were crucified after they refused to hand over one of the brothers accused of supporting the Libyan Army to the Islamic State, according to the Christian Post.
The Libya Herald suggested that the brothers may have already been dead when they were displayed for passersby in order to increase the impact of the threat to the town's residents.
The Jerusalem Post on Monday offered more background on the Islamic State’s use of crucifixion:
ISIS has long used crucifixion as means of embarrassing those they kill, as, in their eyes, comparing the dead to Jesus Christ is a great insult. It is the stated goal of the terrorist organization to eradicate Christianity from all their territories.
A group calling itself a Libyan branch of the Islamic State group released a video in February showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians on a Libyan beach.
In April, the group released a video showing a similar mass slaying of Ethiopian Christian men.