Originally published on July 17, 2014, at ForceChange.com
Target: Nouri Abusahmain, President of the Libyan General National Congress
Goal: Investigate the assassination of a prominent human rights activist, and ensure justice for her family
On the day of her country’s general election, Libyan human rights lawyer Salwa Bugaighis was assassinated inside her home in Benghazi, by a group of unidentified gunmen wearing hoods and military uniforms. The shooting took place shortly after she cast her vote in the national parliamentary elections. Earlier in the day, Bugaighis appeared on television denouncing extremist militants who had attacked members of the military protecting the polling station.
During the 2011 uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, Bugaighis actively opposed human rights abused by armed militias and radical extremists. She was a former member of the rebellion’s political wing, the National Transitional Council, and became vice-president of a preparatory committee for national dialogue in Libya.
On the night of her murder, five unidentified assassins shot her security guard in the leg and murdered Bugaighis in cold blood. Her husband, who was in the family home at the time of the attack, has since been reported as missing. A month before the shooting, Bugaighis reported her son had been a victim of an assassination attempt while driving her car. She believed the potential assassins had mistaken her son for her.
Earlier in the day, at least three soldiers providing security to the polling station in Benghazi were killed by extremist militiamen. These militias frequently target human rights advocates, judges, policemen, secular civilians, and the military. Even though Gaddafi has been deposed, rampant crime and instability continue to plague the country.
How can Libyan citizens enact positive social reforms when their own government cannot protect them and their families? The friends and family of Salwa Bugaighis deserve justice for this crime and the assurance that it will never happen again.
By signing the petition below you will help urge the President of the Libyan General National Congress, Nouri Abusahmain, to stop these politically motivated assassinations and prevent further injustices against human rights activists.
Dear President Nouri Abusahmain,
The recent murder of Libyan human rights lawyer Salwa Bugaighis sends a message throughout your country that politically motivated assassinations will continue to go unpunished. By allowing this injustice to run rampant, you appear complicit in these crimes in both the eyes of your people and the international community.
To ensure peace and stability in Libya, I urge you to track down these unidentified assassins and place them on trial in a fair court of law. Your citizens need to know that they can attend a polling station on election day without the fear of retaliation from religious extremists. Libya deserves to emerge from beneath Gaddafi’s despotic shadow without sacrificing its best and brightest human rights defenders.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Tjebbe van Tijen via Flickr