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Lawyer and prominent dissident assassinated in Libya

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) denounces the ongoing politically motivated attacks and murders in Libya. A political activist has now also been targeted, following a number of operations that had targeted members of the security forces and the army who joined the revolution against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

On the afternoon of Friday 26 July 2013, human rights lawyer and prominent political activist Abdulsalam Al-Mesmari, who was known for opposing the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, was assassinated.

Al-Mesmari was born in 1968 and was among the important critics of Qaddafi. He established the coalition of February 17 after the launch of the revolution in 2011, with the aim of coordinating action between the various political powers during that time.

Around 1:30 p.m. after the end of Friday prayers as Al-Mesmari was returning to his house in the Barakah district on foot, two persons - who were likely in a car - shot him in the heart. Al-Mesmari died before reaching the Gala Hospital in Benghazi city.

A few days prior to the assassination he appeared on a TV show on 24 July, where he spoke about extrajudicial crimes, such as the July 2011 assassination of Gen. Abdulfatah Yunis, leader of the Libyan opposition army. Al-Mesmari also criticized the Muslim Brotherhood, holding it responsible for spreading chaos in Libya. He was also known for speaking out against the political Islamic trend via his reports in media outlets or through the use of social networks.

It is worth noting that Al-Mesmari had received death threats for his political stance. In response he had posted a message on Facebook to those who threaten to resort to violence or assassination because of their national opinions, "we tell them we will win by our peaceful actions."

He was also attacked by unknown persons in May after criticizing the armed groups that have laid siege to Libya's ministries, describing them as acting "against legitimacy".

ANHRI stated, "until now the authorities have failed to seize the arms spread in the streets since the revolution in February 2011, which threatens the stability of Libya and people's security. This has led to the escalation of political violence of late, with 20 military leaders being killed for political reasons. Now the armed groups have began to target political activists after targeting military personnel. This will threaten the possibility of a peaceful political course in Libya, and further endanger a state in transition that has already proven unable to control the security situation."

ANHRI notes the urgent need for an investigation of the incident and the identification and sanctioning of the assailants. If this attack remains unpunished, violence in Libya will increase, ANHRI fears.

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