The ICJ, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), the Defender Center for Human Rights (DCHR), Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) and the Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace (LWPP) have issued today a joint statement on the assassination of lawyer and political activist Hanan al-Barassi .
The undersigned human rights groups are appalled by the assassination of lawyer and political activist Hanan al-Barassi in Benghazi on 10 November 2020, and call on the competent authorities to launch an independent, impartial and effective investigation into the killing and bring those responsible to justice through fair trials.
On 10 November, a group of unknown armed men shot al-Barassi in Benghazi city centre in broad daylight. Al-Barassi was known for her political engagement and criticism of the human rights violations and abuses and corruption allegedly committed by authorities in Eastern Libya and their affiliated militias. Al-Barassi was active on social media, and often posted videos on Facebook in which she criticised the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF). Her last video was posted a few hours before her killing.
Al-Barassi’s murder follows a disturbing pattern in recent years of violent attacks against prominent women activists who are critical of the authorities and affiliated militias. In June 2014, gunmen assassinated prominent human rights activist and lawyer Salwa Bugaighis. This was followed by the killing of former Derna Congress member Fariha Al-Berkawi on 17 July 2014, and human rights activist Entisar El Hassari on 24 February 2015. Women’s rights defender and member of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives Seham Sergiwa was abducted from her home by armed men on 17 July 2019, and her whereabouts remains unknown.