Crouching man shot dead in killing organised by Shura Council of Islamic Youth in lawless city of Derna
A shocking video showing an execution-style killing by an armed group at a football stadium in eastern Libya highlights the authorities’ failure to prevent parts of the country from descending into violence and lawlessness, Amnesty International said today.
An amateur video published on social media sites including YouTube shows the execution of an Egyptian man apparently organised by an armed group called the Shura Council of Islamic Youth in the eastern city of Derna.
The video shows the Egyptian victim, Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed, being brought blindfolded into the football ground in a pick-up truck. Masked men armed with rifles then force him to kneel on a stretcher. (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpMGnX-AVz8&feature=youtu.be
- note: some viewers may find the images distressing).
A statement read out prior to the killing accuses him of stabbing to death a Libyan man, Khalid al-Dirsi. It is claimed that he admitted to murder and theft during interrogation by the Legitimate Committee for Dispute Resolution, a body apparently operating under the authority of the Shura Council of Islamic Youth. The statement says the Committee has ruled he is to be “executed” unless pardoned by the family of the victim. It appears from the video that the family refuses to grant a pardon.
An unmasked man wearing plain clothes, believed to be the brother of Khalid al-Dirsi, is then given a handgun. He is seen shooting Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed from behind, possibly in the head or neck. Amnesty has also viewed photographs of the incident posted on social media that show a large crowd of people watching the killing from the stadium’s benches. Meanwhile, Amnesty has confirmed with sources in Derna that the killing did take place on 19 August on the outskirts of Derna.
Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said:
“This was an unlawful act of brutal revenge, not justice.
“Such acts can only lead to further human rights abuses in Derna, where residents have no recourse to state institutions and therefore no means to seek justice or effective protection from abuses.
“The Libyan authorities, with the support of the international community, must urgently address the breakdown of law and order that has persisted in Derna and elsewhere following the end of Colonel al-Gaddafi’s rule.”
Lawlessness in Derna
Since the end of Libya’s 2011 conflict, there has been no police or army presence in Derna, while the city’s Court of Appeals has been suspended since June last year following the assassination of a senior judge amid repeated threats to judges by armed groups. Members of the judiciary have refused to report to work unless the state provides the necessary protection and security, which it has failed to do.
The security vacuum has been exploited by various armed groups, including Ansar al-Sharia, which now effectively controls the city. Over the past two years security officials, politicians, religious figures and judges have all been victims of targeted killings in Derna, and these crimes have yet to be fully investigated.
Numerous Islamist armed groups operating in the city have taken advantage of the breakdown of the rule of law to assert their control in an apparent attempt to enforce their own interpretation of Islamic law.