Official report: Tunisian journalists killed in Libya
The death of Tunisian journalists Sofian Chourabi and Nadhir Ktari was announced last Wednesday by Libya's Tobruk-based government's justice ministry. They were reportedly killed by a terrorist cell of Libyans and Egyptians.
This is the first official confirmation of their deaths. Several unconfirmed reports have been released, including one on 8 January saying they had been killed by the Libyan branch of the Islamic State group.
However, there are still suspicions that this official report is untrue. The journalists were kidnapped by a militant group in Libya in September 2014, while they were reporting for Tunisian channel First TV.
The National Union of Tunisian Journalists has worked tirelessly to secure their release.
Yesterday Naji Baghouri, the head of the union, angrily condemned the Libyan authorities' handling of the case.
|The National Union of Tunisian Journalists has worked tirelessly to secure their release.
"The Libyan government has acted like a militia. It has failed to report their murder to the Tunisian government using diplomatic channels. The union refuses to accept Libya's condolences until concrete evidence is released of their deaths," Baghouri argued.
The union said Libya's two warring governments had used the journalists as political leverage to gain diplomatic recognition from Tunisia. It accused the Tunisian government of acting complacently over the case.
Tunisia's foreign ministry announced that the Tunisian consul-general in Libya would travel to Libya to investigate the murder in coordination with Libyan authorities.
Mustapha Abdelkebir, a human rights activist and member of the Tunisian-Libyan Friendship Committee said: "There is no evidence to confirm their murder."
The announcement has caused further suffering for the journalists' families.
"All I hope is that everything that's been said is a lie," Chourabi's mother tearfully told al-Araby al-Jadeed.
Her son is a well-known blogger who also worked as a photojournalist. He also advocated for free expression and freedom of the internet.
Sofian Rajab, Ktari's uncle, said: "Nadhir was full of life. His camera was the centre of his life, but it may also have killed him."
Mystery continues to surround the fate of the two journalists. When they were killed? If so, by who?
This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.