Hanan al-Barasi’s Murder Between Political Exploitation and Calls for a Transparent Investigation – Al Marsad

Lawyer Hanan al-Barasi, famous as “Azzouz of Barqa”, died yesterday, Tuesday, at the age of 46, after she was exposed to a hail of bullets in the 20th Street area in the center of Benghazi by unkown gunmen.

(Libya, 11 November 2020) – The assassination of the prominent lawyer Hanan al-Barasi sparked widespread public reactions in Libya denouncing the heinous crime, which was all the more grave as the victim was a woman, regardless of her political and ideological affiliations. Several independent activists, politicians, and embassies, including the United States Embassy, demanded a transparent and professional investigation into the crime.

The Libyan government’s Ministry of Interior said that it had opened an investigation into the crime and collected evidence. However, media outlets affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood turned into prosecutor, court, and judge, and issued their immediate verdict on the perpetrator,  who they claim was responsible for her murder, namely “Haftar.” The leaders of such media outlets, however, along with their armed groups, took the initiative to deny the involvement of the same terrorists who committed similar assassinations before Operation Dignity of the Libyan National Army (LNA) in 2014.

In 2014, Benghazi witnessed an orchestrated campaign of targeted assassinations by Islamists terrorists against ordinary civilians, prominent civil society figures and leaders of the army and police forces. They even provoked the entire East by implying there  was “no true man there.”

Al-Barassi, who was in general loyal to the army and opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood and militants for years, directed ordinary criticisms two days ago to one of Haftar’s sons. The Muslim Brotherhood’s media took this to be definitive evidence that Haftar and his sons were responsible for the murder without any further evidence or investigation of the crime scene.

However, many Libyan activists indicate that a “hidden hand” may be involved and that the only beneficiaries of the murder seem to be those who are exploiting it via the Islamist media campaign and who are directing their accusations only in the direction of those who were criticized by Al-Barasi.

Actvists asserted that it would be illogical for those who have been criticized on social media to commit such as act just hours after such criticism was made because this would “expose” them. Libyan activists, therefore, demand full investigation by Benghazi’s security forces to bring the perpetrators of Hanan’s murder to justice.

There are also claims that the crime may be related to the honor-related social issues that al-Barasi highlighted recently on social media. However, she apologized for her comments once she learnt that the women who had alleged rape “turned out to be lying.”

As for lawyers and the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), both stressed the need to investigate the case quickly and transparently to ensure justice away from any political and ideological exploitation, so that the victim’s rights are not lost and justice is pursued to the fullest.

The body of Hanan Al-Barasi was buried last night at a cemetery in Benghazi, after the completion of forensic procedures and burial ritual.

© Al-Marsad English (2020)

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