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Libya senior judge assassinated outside courthouse

Senior Libyan Judge Mohammed Naguib was assassinated Sunday by an unidentified gunman outside of the courthouse in Derna. Chairman of the Court of Cassation in Green Mountain province Judge Abdel-Aziz Mustafa al-Trabelsi confirmed [LANA report; in Arabic] that his colleague was killed outright in the drive-by attack. This attack is the latest of an increasing number of threats and attacks on the judiciary in Derna, a city known to be an Islamic stronghold and which houses extremist Salafist militias such as Ansar al-Shariah, the group that claimed responsibility for the 2012 raid of the US Embassy in Benghazi. In March, a lower court building was damaged [Libya Herald report] by a bomb blast, however no one was injured in that attack.

Libya is still recovering from the 2011 conflict [JURIST backgrounder] that toppled the regime of Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive]. Earlier this month the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]rejected [JURIST report] a challenge by the Libyan government attempting to attain jurisdiction over Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi [BBC profile]. In April Libya's national assembly criminalized [JURIST report] torture and kidnapping in an attempt to rein in the country's armed militias. In March Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged [JURIST report] the Libya government to ensure the protection of civilians. Also in March the trial [JURIST report] of 40 former Libyan officials began earlier in al-Zawiya. The charges included inciting the killing of protesters during the revolution, wasting public funds, embezzlement and abuse of power. In February the ICC called on Libya [JURIST report] to extradite former Gaddafi intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi [BBC profile].

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