End Politically Motivated Killings in Libya

Target: Nouri Abusahmain, President of the National Congress of Libya

Goal: Investigate and put a stop to rash of politically motivated murders

Over the past year, over 20 Libyan political figures were killed in seemingly politically-motivated acts of violence. So far, the Libyan government has refused to investigate these murders, despite the extremely suspect circumstances under which they took place. If Libya is ever to become a functioning democracy, it is critical that opinionated individuals are allowed to speak out without fear of death.

The most recent event occurred July 26th 2013, when Abdulsalam Elmessmary, a prominent liberal activist and lawyer, was shot while walking home from Friday prayers. He had spoken out against the government’s inaction regarding unlawful killings a mere two days earlier, despite repeated death threats and attacks from various sources, as well as being personally involved with the movement to oust Muammar Gaddafi. A witness described an unknown assailant driving by and shooting Emessary, but unfortunately, he was not able to ascertain the identity of the assailant.

More than twenty other politicians were killed in similar ways, most this summer. The vast majority of these were military officials who participated in ousting former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Perhaps more chillingly, a great number of these officials were also responsible for speaking out against corruption in the new government. Several other victims, who do not appear to have any relation to the victims, have been caught in the crossfire.

These murders are a deeply regrettable throwback to less progressive eras in Libya’s history, when such political strong-arming was common. It is vital to Libya’s development into a democratic state that dissidents feel comfortable speaking out against the establishment. We must urge President Nouri Abusahmain to conduct an impartial investigation into these murders and take whatever actions are necessary to prevent similar killings in the future.


Dear President Nouri Abusahmain,

Over the past few months, over 20 prominent Libyan political figures have been slain in a series of possibly politically motivated killings. The most recent murder, that of Abdulsalam Elmessmary, happened a mere two days after he spoke out of national television against other unlawful killings, and the Libyan government’s lack of action regarding them.

It is the government of Libya’s responsibility to investigate these murders, and bring those responsible to justice. A democratic nation can only function if the people are not afraid to criticize their government, for fear of clandestine retaliation.


[Your Name Here]

Image Credit: Bernd Brincken via Wikimedia Commons

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