Suspects arrested for murder of militia leader in eastern Libya | ICC News

Authorities arrest two suspects in the murder of Mahmoud al-Werfalli, wanted by the ICC for war crimes.

Libyan authorities have announced increased security measures in the second largest city, Benghazi, and the arrest of two suspects in connection with the murder of a militia leader wanted by the International Criminal Court.

Mahmoud al-Werfalli, a member of forces loyal to renegade eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, was beaten down Wednesday with his cousin in the city, cradle of the 2011 revolution in the country.

Security is precarious in Benghazi, in eastern Libya, with frequent violence and executions.

He was thrown into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 and overthrew and killed longtime strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

For years the country has been divided and controlled by two competing administrations: An internationally recognized government in the city of Tripoli in the west and a rival administration in the east allied to Haftar.

Fighting did not end until last year, and an official ceasefire in October was followed by the establishment of a unity government headed by Acting Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.

The ICC has issued a first warrant for the arrest of al-Werfalli in August 2017, accusing him of personally ordering or carrying out seven separate rounds of executions of 33 people in 2016 and 2017.

In July 2018, the ICC issued a second arrest warrant against al-Werfalli for his “alleged responsibility for murder as a war crime”.

Colonel Ali Madi, head of the Benghazi military prosecutor’s office linked to Haftar, identified the suspects in the murder of al-Werfalli as Mohamad Abdeljalil Saad and Hanine al-Abdaly.

The latter is the daughter of lawyer and rights activist Hanan al-Barassi, who was shot dead in broad daylight last November in Benghazi.

Benghazi military authorities said al-Abdaly was arrested while “threatening a fellow citizen with a handgun,” according to video footage of the alleged incident.

Possession of the handgun itself is considered a crime, they said.

Meanwhile, the head of security in Benghazi, General Abdelbasit Bougheress, told reporters on Saturday that on “instructions” from Haftar, all stores must install surveillance cameras before Tuesday.

Cars with tinted windows will be banned in the city, as well as vehicles without license plates, he added, among other measures.

Earlier this month, the bodies of 11 people with gunshot wounds were found at the southern entrance to the city, a security source said, suggesting they had been “executed”.

In October 2017, the bodies of 36 suspected fighters, including 19 foreigners, were found on a vacant lot in the city with traces of torture.

A year earlier, the bodies of 10 young Libyans were found in a landfill in Benghazi.

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