Missing Tunisian journalists in Libya presumed dead
Officials from the internationally recognized Libyan government said in a statement on April 29, 2015, that two Tunisian journalists who had been missing in eastern Libya since September 2014 had been killed.
The government said it obtained information about the killing of Sofiane Chourabi, a reporter, and his cameraman Nadhir Ktari at the hands of “terrorist elements” through confessions by alleged militants in its custody. The government said it did not provide any evidence due to difficulties in reaching the area where the bodies of the journalists are said to be located. The authorities also said that they had obtained information about the killings of a Libyan TV crew of five working for Al-Barqa TV, missing since August. Human Rights Watch is unable to independently verify any of the alleged killings.
Human Rights Watch has documented killings of eight journalists in Libya and attacks against dozens of others since 2012. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Muftah al-Qatrani, a television journalist from Benghazi, was shot dead in his office on April 23, 2015, raising the number of killings to nine.
“Journalists in Libya work under difficult circumstances and risk their lives to provide the public with information denied them under the former government,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “The authorities should do all they can to resolve the fate of both groups of missing journalists and do more to protect media workers in the country.”
The Tunisian and Libyan Authorities should provide details on the fate of all missing journalists, and hold those responsible for crimes against them accountable, Human Rights Watch said. If it is confirmed that the foreign journalists have been killed, Libyan authorities should do everything possible to locate their remains and return them to their families in Tunisia. Libyan authorities should also ensure humane conditions and treatment for all detainees in their custody.