Huda Ben Amer was Gaddafi’s infamous hang-woman, but why have the NTC not put her on trial? The Libyan people want transparency from their government, writes Nada Abuknesha.
I would like to begin this piece by paying tribute to Mr Al-Saadeg Hamed Al-Shuwehdi, who was brutally and cruelly murdered by Gadaffi’s regime in Benghazi around the 7th April in 1984. He was a very brave man who had just graduated as an engineer from an American university. When he returned to Libya he began to peacefully campaign against the Gadaffi regime, calling it, ‘Saving Libya Front’. This was a very bold and brave thing to do in Libya in the 1980s, because doing something like this in the 80s was basically like a death sentence. He was arrested and taken to Benghazi stadium, where his hands were bound and he was hung in front of school children and college students. All this was filmed and broadcast live on national television, which is of course not really surprising since Gadaffi and his loyalists/workers were sick human beings. When this poor man was hung, a young woman kicked his chair on the gallows, and as if that was not enough, she held and pulled his legs together to end his life more painfully and quickly (she just loved to boast about this). This woman was Huda Ben Amer. Doctors in the stadium examined Mr Shuwehdi, to make sure he was dead but they found that he was still alive. They rushed him to hospital and attempted to revive him. When Gadaffi found out, he gave the doctors strict orders to kill him. So they stuffed his mouth and throat with sand until he died.
Upon hearing and seeing this woman, Gadaffi was spell bound, and quite impressed by her (of course, since they share so much in common – love of violence, hangings, murders etc). For 27 years this woman was one of the main big wheels in Gadaffi’s barbaric and violent murders of his own people. She was alternatively known as ‘Huda al-Shannaga’ or ‘Huda the hang woman’, a title she was rather proud of, and took part in the hangings of university students between 1972 and 1985. Gadaffi, of course, rewarded this woman for her ‘work’ and showered her with money, gifts, status, and even gave her away at her wedding. All in all, she led a very luxurious and wealthy life (at the expense of the Libyan people).
Let us take another moment and pay tribute and remember the early martyrs who gave all. This long list includes (there are many more, we just do not know the names) Omar Dabboub and Mohamed Bin Saud, who were both hung by Gadaffi for participating in the peaceful student demonstrations in 1976, and Naji Bu Hawiya Khylyif and Ahmed Makhluf, who both sadly died under torture.
These martyrs gave all when Gadaffi was in his full flow of complete terror, helped by so many who are now back in charge again, and this is why the loss of those great guys is hurting even more, especially to their beloved families and friends. This is another reason why that four legged female species (Huda Ben Amer) should be put on trial and receive her full punishment.
The last we heard of the female animal is that she was found and arrested in September 2011, by the National Transitional Council. It is now April 2012 and we have not really heard much about her, which is really rather worrying. The NTC have kept rather quiet and there does not seem to be any indication of a trial or punishment. This in my opinion is an absolute joke and a complete insult to the families of the victims who were hanged. What is taking the NTC so long to put this woman on trial? I honestly think that the longer they put it off and the longer they delay it, the greater the chance that this woman will be allowed to flee the country. It must not be forgotten by the Libyans that this woman did not just participate in Gadaffi’s crimes, she openly and publicly displayed her pleasure in the actual hanging of our martyrs. Just imagine this woman pulling and holding the legs of the hung young man, knowing that she was being watched and recorded by television. This is not something that we see happen in many dictatorial states; this was typically Gadaffi and Huda Ben Amer showing how much they despised the rest of us. I have to ask, NTC should this woman not face trial?
Mr Abdul-Jalil; have you heard of justice? You were the justice minister in Gadaffi’s government for 4 years after all. Or are you too busy for these little things as you attend international conferences?
I have a very unsettling feeling that Libya, very very slowly, will turn into Somalia, and will turn into a corrupt country, where very big wheels will be paid off very large amounts of money to release high profile prisoners like Huda Ben Amer, and allow her to escape Libya and live comfortably somewhere (just like our friend Musa Kosa). There is absolutely no doubt in the involvement of this woman in these crimes, and there is a lot of footage and evidence all over the internet to prove so.
The men who were brutally hung and murdered between 1972 and 1985 are martyrs, and they deserve justice. Do not let their deaths go in vain, before it’s too late. Before she gets away with it, just like Musa Kosa did. Because when this woman is put on trial and punished, it will serve as a warning to those who think they have gotten away with it (Musa Kosa and many many others of who we do not know there whereabouts), and to give them the fright they truly deserve.
It is evident now that the bigger issues preventing justice to take its course, (justice cannot wait because there are grieving families who cannot wait and cannot move on until proper justice is served, and quite rightly so) is the NTC and its complete inadequacy for the job. It has to be pointed out that the NTC is mainly made up of ex-Gadaffi officials, and we should not really expect much better from them. This is because, if they took the necessary steps of dealing with people like Ben Amer, then they would slowly attract attention to their own pasts. Special attention in this case should be given to the role of our NTC chairman, Mr Abdel-Jalil who held the distinctive position of ‘Minister of Justice’ in Gadaffi’s past regime. One of the functions of the minister of justice (injustice rather), was to sign all kinds of files such as imprisonment, hanging, executions, fake trials, and all those activities associated with Gadaffi’s terror. It is a fair question to ask how many of these types of papers the NTC chairman signed, and we seem to have forgotten about this. The notable NTC members may not know very much, but they do know the atrocities committed by our Lady in question.
Also just a suggestion, it would be rather fitting to have Huda Ben Amer’s trial in Benghazi since she hated Benghazi citizens and people so much, going as far to saying, ‘there are no men here’.