UN condemns killing of prominent Libyan lawyer

A fence displays the United Nations (UN) logo outside its headquarters in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 22. 2020. The United Nations General Assembly met in a virtual environment for the first time in its 75-year history due to the pandemic. Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A fence displays the United Nations (UN) logo outside its headquarters. (Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The United Nations mission in Libya (UNSMIL) condemned the killing of lawyer and prominent female dissident Hanan al-Barassi in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

Al-Barassi was shot dead in her car on 20th Street, a busy highway in the centre of Benghazi, according to rights groups and security officials.

The 46-year-old was a vocal critic of rights abuses in Libya’s eastern areas which are controlled by the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

She was also a prominent women’s rights activist who ran a local association for the defence of women’s rights and gave voice to female victims of violence in her social media videos.

“Her tragic death illustrates the threats faced by Libyan women as they dare to speak out,” UNSMIL said in a statement.

UNSMIL called for the people behind the killing to be brought to justice even as it noted the decision by authorities in the East to initiate a “prompt and thorough investigation” into al-Barassi’s death.

“The killing of Ms. al-Barassi is a strong reminder for Libyans in positions of responsibility that they should put their differences aside and swiftly forge an inclusive solution to the protracted crisis to restore justice and accountability and end the prevailing climate of impunity,” the statement added.

Al-Barassi’s killing came almost a year-and-a-half after another prominent women’s rights activist named Siham Sergiwa disappeared after she was kidnapped by armed men in Benghazi.


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