Libya sentences 45 militiamen to death over 2011 killings

Libya sentences 45 militiamen to death over 2011 killings
The militiamen were pro-Gaddafi fighters who were found guilty of killing demonstrators during Libya's 2011 uprising.
2 min read
15 August, 2018
Armed Libyans in the eastern coastal city of Benghazi [Getty]
A Libyan court sentenced 45 militiamen to death on Wednesday for killing demonstrators during the 2011 uprising against Muammar Gaddafi.

It was the highest number of death sentences passed by a Libyan court in a single case since the overthrow of Gaddafi's regime seven years ago.

Dozens of demonstrators were killed on 21 August, 2011 when pro-regime militiamen opened fire near the Abu Slim district of the capital as rebel forces closed in on the capital, eight months into a NATO-backed revolt. 

The justice ministry said in a statement that 54 other defendants were sentenced to five years in jail, 22 were acquitted, and three others had died before the verdict was reached.

Gaddafi was killed in October 2011 near his hometown of Sirte, south of the capital.

A 2015 UN-brokered deal that set up the Government of National Accord was meant to calm years of chaos that followed the ouster and killing of Gaddafi.

But the Tripoli-based unity government struggled to win the support of the elected parliament in Tobruk and its legitimacy was questioned by its rivals from the very start.

Sitting lawmakers were elected in 2014 and were due to vote at the end of July on a plans to organise a referendum on a Libyan constitution.

Parliamentary sessions have repeatedly been adjourned due to lawmakers arguing over the legal text and no further sessions are scheduled until the end of August.

Earlier this week, a Libyan MP was injured while separating a brawl involving gunfire outside parliament in Tobruk. 

Agencies contributed to this report 

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