Human rights groups call on Libya to release Hammerl’s body

2011-05-21 07:33

New York – Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists called on Libya yesterday to release the body of slain South African photographer Anton Hammerl and investigate the role the armed forces played in his death.

The 41-year-old photographer’s death was confirmed Thursday by journalists who saw him shot and killed by government forces on April 5. The journalists had been held by Libyan forces since the shooting, but only made the news of his death public upon their release.

“Libyan government forces killed Anton Hammerl six weeks ago and then lied about what happened,” Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch said.

“They had his passport and they knew he was dead. Now they should at least release his body and provide some truthful answers about his fate.”

The two organisations said in a statement that under international law Libya was obliged to take all feasible measures to account for persons reported as missing as a result of fighting and provide their family members any information it had regarding their fate.

“The Libyan government chose to remain silent about Hammerl’s fate, even though they knew he had been killed,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Programme Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem. “That’s not only cruel, it’s unlawful.”

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