Prominent Libyan human rights activist and political thinker Salwa Bugaighis, was gunned down in her home town of Benghazi on June 26th. The United States condemns in the strongest terms possible the brutal assassination of Ms. Bugaighis.
Through her dedicated activism and her leadership in Libya's democratic transition, including most recently through the Preparatory Committee for National Dialogue, Ms. Bugaighis courageously worked to achieve the aspirations of the Libyan people. Her legacy and achievements in building the foundations of an open, transparent and stable democracy will endure and her example will serve as a model for civil society activists in Libya and around the world.
Ms. Bugaighis was a lawyer, human rights and women's rights activist and one of the first Libyans to take to the streets of Benghazi in February 2011 to protest against the regime of dictator Moammar Ghadhafi. Her assassination came hours after she cast her ballot in the country's second parliamentary election since the revolution.
"The shocking, ruthless killing of Salwa Bugaighis," said Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa deputy director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui,
"robs Libyan civil society of one of its most courageous and esteemed figures. But sadly she is by no means the first activist struck down during the political violence that has plagued the country since the uprising and in its aftermath."
Ms. Bugaighis "ability to advocate with political insight and deep, selfless conviction," said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, "won her the respect of Libyans from all walks of life. The news of her murder is heartbreaking. It underscores the need for an inclusive and revitalized political process – one based on law, not violence - that reflects aspirations of all Libya's people." Those responsible for Ms. Bugaighis murder must be held to account.
Libya took an important step forward by holding new parliamentary elections, and the United States underscores the important of the work of the Constitution Drafting Committee and the critical role for a Libyan-led national dialogue in Libya. Finding a democratic way forward remains the best hope for a stable and prosperous Libya.