Libya: Amnesty International Demands a Halt to Deadly Force by Libyan Authorities to Suppress Protests

Press Release
February 17, 2011

Libya: Amnesty International Demands a Halt to Deadly Force by Libyan Authorities to Suppress Protests

Amnesty International Press Release
Thursday, February 17, 2011

Amnesty International Demands a Halt to Deadly Force by Libyan Authorities to Suppress Protests

At Least One More Protesters is Reported Shot and Killed by Police

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, strimel@aiusa.org

(New York) -- Amnesty International called on Libya today to stop lethal force to suppress anti-government protests after another person was shot and killed by police.

Nacer Miftah Gout'ani was shot dead when government security forces opened fire on demonstrators taking part in a social network-led "Day of Rage" in the city of Al Bayda, 100 km east of Benghazi. Dozens more were injured in the protests.

At least two people were killed in clashes Wednesday and more than 30 were reported to have been injured, 11 critically, while many more were arrested in the crackdown.

"The Libyan authorities tried to smother this protest before it even got off the ground but that, clearly, did not work. Now they are resorting to brutal means to punish and deter the protestors,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International's director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Even when protestors do use violence, the police must not use disproportionate or excessive force,” said Smart. “They must use no more force than the circumstances require, and lethal fire should be seen as only the very last resort.”

Two protesters shot dead Wednesday were identified as Sa’d Idriss al-Yamani and Khaled Ennaji Khenifer. A third person, an unnamed woman, is also said to have been killed when she was hit by a bullet while watching the protests from her window.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that at least 12, possibly more, protesters have been killed in the past two days across Libya.

“The Libyan authorities must allow peaceful protests to go ahead,” said Smart.

“Libyan police and security forces must respect the rights of protestors, not abuse them. The government must rein in these forces and order an immediate impartial investigation into the deadly and other excessive force that has been used so far."

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

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