BEIRUT

Middle East

Libya football stadium hosts videotaped execution

Black smoke is seen in the area of Tripoli's international airport, on August 20, 2014. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD TURKIA

TRIPOLI: An Islamist armed group carried out a videotaped execution of an Egyptian man in a football stadium in Libya, in what Amnesty said Friday highlighted the country’s descent into lawlessness.

The video of the execution in the eastern city of Derna was posted on social media websites, including YouTube. Amnesty International said it was carried out Aug. 19, apparently by an extremist militant group, the Shura Council of Islamic Youth, in front of a crowd seated in the stadium.

“This unlawful killing realizes the greatest fears of ordinary Libyans, who in parts of the country find themselves caught between ruthless armed groups and a failed state,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa deputy director.

“Such acts can only lead to further human rights abuses in Derna, where residents have no recourse to state institutions and therefore no means to seek justice or effective protection from abuses,” she added.

“The Libyan authorities, with the support of the international community, must urgently address the breakdown of law and order that has persisted in Derna and elsewhere following the end of Colonel [Moammar] Gadhafi’s rule.”

In the video, the Egyptian, named as Mohammad Ahmad Mohammad, is brought into the stadium blindfolded on a truck.

He is forced to kneel and a statement is read out accusing him of killing a Libyan, Amnesty said.

A gun is then passed to an unmasked man wearing plainclothes, believed to be the brother of the dead Libyan, who then shoots the Egyptian from behind.

Amnesty said armed Islamists “appear to have taken advantage of the breakdown of the rule of law to assert their control in an apparent attempt to enforce their own interpretation” of Shariah laws.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 23, 2014, on page 10.

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