Libya buries slain prominent activist

AP News
Posted: Jun 27, 2014 4:45 PM

CAIRO (AP) — Libya's election commission announced partial results of the country's parliamentary elections, as mourners led burial of a prominent female activist in the eastern city of Benghazi on Friday, a day after she was gunned down in her house after she caste her ballot.

The burial comes as Benghazi police spokesman Ibrahim al-Sharaa said that the only witness to the killing of activist Salwa Bugaighis has been found dead in the hospital.

The witness was a guard at Bugaighis's house who was shot in the leg by attackers before they stormed inside, stabbing and shooting Bugaighis.

Iman Bugaighis, sister of the slain activist, told al-Nabaa TV network that she learnt that the witness was tortured after he gave his testimony. "To be killed in a crime that shook Libya and the world ... this makes my heart bleed."

Mourners carried her coffin while others carried her picture as women dressed in black wept in grief at the funeral.

Bugaighis was killed after casting her ballot in Libya's parliamentary elections, hoping to bring stability to the country after three years of turmoil that followed 8-month civil war that ended with downfall of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

The Election Commission announced results for elections to replace the outgoing Islamist-controlled council, which was elected in 2012, but outstayed its mandate propelling street demonstrations amid accusations that its members are backers of powerful militias.

The candidates were all independents and their political affiliations or ideologies are not clear.

Among those who were confirmed as winners, are Mustafa Abushagur, who was a onetime nominee for prime minister post in 2012 but was dismissed after parliament rejected his cabinet makeup. Another is Hamouda Sayala in Tripoli who was a close associate to popular, former transitional prime minister Mahmoud Jibril, who led the largest bloc in parliament in first elections before disbanding it.

Some members of the outgoing parliament also won the vote like Abdel-Rahman al-Swehli, Islamist who belongs to a large family in the city of Misrata, the third largest city, including those who command powerful militias.

The new 200-member parliament could be a step toward forming a more stable government with lawmakers' backing, paving the way for the writing of the first post-Gadhafi constitution within 18 months and the election of a president. Still, a new government will face the same challenge as previous ones — forming a unified military and central police force while reining in militias, some of which could lash out with violence if their political patrons lose in the election.