Leadership Elected in Libyan Congress
Libya’s newly seated National Congress elected Mohammed Magarief of the National Front as the body’s speaker, who will now effectively serve as Libya’s head of state. Magarief, a formerly exiled dissident from Benghazi who survived three assassination attempts by the Gaddafi regime, is considered a moderate Islamist, and pledged in his first speech as speaker to remain neutral of “political, regional and tribal considerations” in order to lead a broad national dialogue. The Congress also elected independent congressman Juma Ateega from Misrata and Justice & Construction party member Saleh Essaleh from southwest Libya as vice speakers.
Meanwhile, a group of gunmen assassinated Libyan General Mohamed Hadia al-Feitouri Friday on his way home from prayers. Feitouri, a senior official in the defense ministry, is the latest in several recent attacks on security officials who served under Muammar Gaddafi. The general was also one of the first senior military officers to defect during the revolution. Thus far his attackers and their motives remain unknown.
In addition, the Libyan Observatory for Human Rights released an appeal to the government for the release of all non-dangerous prisoners, while also calling for all prisoners who are seriously ill or over the age of 65 to be put under house arrest. The rights group voiced their concern over prison conditions in Libyan prisons, particularly in their ability to provide proper care for the elderly and sick. While not extending to prominent members of the Gaddafi regime, the group would like to see prisoners with “rare talents” released so they can contribute to the country’s transition.