Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) detained Abdalrahman al-Milad, a coastguard commander sanctioned by the UN for alleged human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
The ministry said it detained Milad at the request of the UN Security Council and referred the case to the public prosecutor for legal measures against him.
Milad heads a coastguard unit in Zawiya, west of Tripoli, and was one of six people sanctioned for involvement in people trafficking in Libya two years ago.
Migrants testified they were taken to a detention centre on a ship used by Milad and held in brutal conditions and beaten. He denied wrongdoing or involvement in smuggling in a phone call to Reuters in 2018.
Smugglers have made vast profits exploiting a security vacuum in Libya since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi and left many state institutions under the control of armed groups.
Libya has been divided since 2014 between the GNA in Tripoli and the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) of Khalifa Haftar.
There are more than half a million migrants in Libya, a major launch point for journeys across the Mediterranean to Europe, according to the UN, which says it is not a safe port for migrants to be returned to.