Libya: Justice awaits for general's murder

2012-12-05 14:37

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Benghazi - Eighteen months after the mysterious murder of a top general who led the early stages of the rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's judiciary has yet to shed light on the case that could involve some senior former rebels.

General Abdel Fatah Younis had participated in the coup that brought Gaddafi to power in 1969 and later became the dictator's interior minister before defecting early in the February 2011 uprising against the late strongman.

Following his defection, Younis, from the powerful Al-Obeidi tribe, became the chief of staff of the anti-Gaddafi rebellion until he was assassinated on 28 July last year in the eastern city of Benghazi - the birthplace of the uprising - with two of his companions from the same tribe.

The general was murdered when he was recalled from the frontline for interrogation in Benghazi.

His murder was initially blamed on extremists, then Libyan rebel officials, while some Western intelligence agencies were also seen as having had a hand in it.

But the Obeidi tribe still wants the truth, saying justice has been delayed.

They openly accuse Mustafa Abdel Jalil, who chaired the National Transitional Council, the former political body of the rebels, Ali al-Issawi, former vice president of the executive, and a former cleric, Salem Shikhi.

Also accused was judge Jomaa Hassan al-Jazwi who himself was murdered on 21 June in Benghazi.


Judge Jazwi was believed to have signed an arrest warrant against Younis who was suspected of having maintained contacts with the Gaddafi regime.

"The family will continue its efforts to shed light on this issue and seek justice even if there is procrastination and complacency on the part of the new government," Moutassim's son Younis told AFP.

He said the general's family has observed a sit-in since 22 November at the Al-Harika oil terminal in the city of Tobruk to press the government to find and try his father's killers.

Members of the Obeidi tribe have also set up a tent in the centre of Benghazi since the general's killing, demanding justice.

Under pressure, a military court in Benghazi on 17 November ordered the interrogation of Abdel Jalil.

"Mr Abdel Jalil has offered himself to appear to testify in the case," Youssef al-Assifer, the military attorney general, told AFP.

Abdel Jalil was the last minister of justice under Gaddafi and he joined the rebellion against the dictator around the same time as Younis.

Youssef Aguila, lawyer of Younis' family, said "the military prosecutor has to determine whether Mustafa Abdel Jalil will be examined as a witness or accused".

"Since he was responsible for the political phase [after the fall of Gaddafi’s regime], if he is accused, he should be accused of abuse of power or inciting murder."

A hearing has been set for 20 February 2013 and the attorney general could extend the investigation to other persons suspected of being involved in the general's assassination.

Read more on:    mustafa abdel jalil  |  muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  north africa

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