The late Abdulsalam Al-Mesmari, lawyer and human rights activist, seen here with his daughter, was assassinated in Benghazi Libya on Friday.
A leading political activist who played a major role in the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and a critic of the role played by Muslim Brotherhood in new Libya, Abdulsalam Al-Mesmari, has been assassinated as he was leaving Friday prayers in Benghazi.
Al-Mesmari, a prominent lawyer and human rights activist who headed the February 17 Coalition, was planning a big rally in Benghazi on July 28, a day after his assassination, to demand the rebuilding of the national army and police force and the dissolving of all armed groups that are affiliated in name with the military and police.
Two more people were also assassinated in Benghazi on Friday, including Colonel Salem al-Sareh and Colonel Khattab Younis al-Zwai, head of police in Jakhirra in southern Libya.
Retired Colonel al-Sareh was an air force colonel. He was assassinated in al-Laythi area in Benghazi inside al-Tuaba mosque. The attackers entered the mosque as people were finishing their prayers, killed him and hurried away.
Eyewitnesses said that when they heard the shot gun they thought it was a firework, only to find out soon after that al-Sareh was killed.
Colonel al-Zwai was shot and killed as he drove his car in Benghazi after evening prayers.
The attackers in the three assassinations escaped and there have been no claims of responsibility.
Thousands of people demonstrated Friday night in Benghazi, Tubrok and other Libyan cities against the series of assassinations and demanded the government to do more to provide security and bring the perpetrators to justice.
A security official in Benghazi, Mohamed Hejazi, told reports that gunmen in a gray sedan stopped al-Mesmari on his way home after Friday prayers and shot him at close range.
Two days before his assassination, al-Mesmari gave an interview to Libya Awalan TV channel in which he strongly criticised the Muslim Brotherhood group’s role in Libya and accused them of being the ones behind the chaos and lack of security and stability in the country.
Meanwhile, the Justice and Construction Party, the Muslim Brotherhood political arm, issued a statement Friday saying the assassination of Mesmari was a “dangerous crime” against the 17 February revolution and its leaders.
It called on the government and the Interior Ministry to bring the criminals to justice and to release the results of investigations of previous assassinations.
Mesmari also accused Qatar of playing a negative role in Libya by its strong support of the Islamists including the Muslim Brotherhood and that the Qatari influence has been overplayed in the country.
He demanded the authorities to release the findings of investigations of over 60 assassinations in the country starting with the assassination of General Abdul Fattah Younis, the former Chief of Staff of the uprising in June 2011.
He said Prime Minister Ali Zidan had lost power and influence since the passing of the Political Isolation Law that was passed by the National Congress on May 5.
He also demanded that the former Chief of Staff Yousef Al-Manghush should be put on trial for his role in preventing the rebuilding of the army and his use of the public budget for financing armed groups affiliated with his office.
Reem Al-Berki wrote in the social media that she met Mesmari on June 27 and he told her he was expecting to be assassinated as he was receiving death threats on a daily basis. He also told her that he wished to be killed during Ramadan if that is going to be inevitable.