Tributes to murdered activist Intisar Al-Hasairi continued to reach Libya Herald. Intisar, whose body was found with that of her aunt’s in her car, becomes yet another female activist to be murdered in post 2011 Libya following the murder of Salwa Bugaighis on 25 June 2014, and former Derna Congresswomen Fariha Al-Berkawi assassinated on 17 July 2014.
Bushra, a female activist, who worked closely with Intisar was still in a state of shock after hearing the news of the murder of her colleague and human rights activist earlier in the day. ‘’I was distraught when someone inadvertently broke the news to me not knowing that I knew her’’, she told Libya Herald in Tunis.
‘’Ironically I was participating in a media workshop here in Tunis when someone mentioned Intisar’s name. I asked. What about here? She was murdered today, I was told. I broke down immediately. I was inconsolable’’.
‘’Intisar respected differences. She was open to new ideas and people. She treated humans as humans’’.
Asked what might have been the motive for her murder, Bushra was equally perplexed ‘’I do not know why anyone would want to murder her. She did not have as high a political profile. She was most famous for the book fair that she had helped organize. The only thing I can think of is that she did not wear a scarf and she drove without a scarf’’, speculated Bushra.
‘’We have been working for months on various women’s issues. We are following up many cases with international organizations, including the ICC. We were working on sensitive cases in Libya such as imprisonment, torture and even rape. These are sensitive issues to deal with in Libyan society. It was not easy. There was reluctance to speak at first. We were processing the files of tens of cases of infringements during the 2011 revolution’’.
‘’But as I said these cases are not publicized. They are worked on quietly in confidence, so no outsiders knew the details. So I do not think it (her murder) had anything to do with our work on human rights infringements ’’.
‘’I owe it to her to continue working on these cases. I am determined to – in her memory’’, concluded Bushra.
‘’Intissar was the first to show up in any demonstrations and every debate in cultural events concerned with building a civil state. She was at the book club seeking to enlighten the minds of youth, but before all that she was imposing the principles of peace and tolerance always with a smile that says: I am a humanist, I am Tripoli.” A Libyan writer and member of Nawaa Book Club told Libya Herald on the basis of anonymity.
In reaching out to activists and those who knew of Intisar or her work, and especially women, Libya Herald noticed an increased reluctance by many to talk out of fears for safety.
By Libya Herald journalist.