ARTICLE 19 condemns the killing of women’s rights activist and lawyer Hanan al-Barassi in Benghazi, and sends our condolences to her family. Barassi was a prominent activist who spoke out against abuses by the Libyan National Army, and associated groups, and worked tirelessly to challenge abuses against women and to fight corruption in Libya. Barassi was shot in her car by armed men in Benghazi on 10 November 2020, just a few minutes after posting a live video to Facebook criticising the actions of the LNA.
Saloua Ghazouani, Regional Director for ARTICLE 19 MENA, said: “Despite the threats she faced, Barassi spoke out courageously against human rights abuses, and was an important voice for women’s rights in Libya. Her commitment to human rights and speaking out for others will be remembered.”
Barassi is not the first female activist in Libya who has paid with her life for challenging abuses by the powerful. In July 2019, Libyan MP Siham Sergawa was kidnapped by a militia after criticising the Libyan National Army, and has not been seen since.
“This must not go on. We urge accountability for Barassi’s murder through a serious and honest investigation, to prevent the emboldening of those who seek to silence human rights defenders through threats and violence”, Ghazouani added.