In a landmark ruling, a Libyan court has handed down death sentences to 23 individuals and imposed life imprisonment on another 14 for their involvement in a brutal Islamic State (IS) militant campaign.
The atrocities committed during the campaign included the beheading of a group of Egyptian Christians and the capture of the city of Sirte in 2015.
According to the statement issued by the Attorney General’s office, the court also sentenced one person to 12 years in prison, six to 10 years, one to five years, and six to three years.
Additionally, five individuals were acquitted, while three others passed away before their cases reached trial.
IS’s Libyan branch had established itself as a formidable force outside its original strongholds in Iraq and Syria, taking advantage of the post-2011 NATO-backed uprising, which led to chaos and ongoing warfare. Exploiting the prevailing turmoil, the group launched a heinous attack on the luxurious Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli in 2015, claiming the lives of nine innocent individuals.
Moreover, they abducted and gruesomely beheaded numerous Egyptian Christians, publicizing these horrific acts through propaganda films.
Having gained control over territories in Benghazi, Derna, and Ajdabiya in eastern Libya, IS seized the central coastal city of Sirte, maintaining its grip until late 2016.
During its rule, the group imposed a brutal regime of public morality and administered harsh punishments.
Expressing his sentiments, Mustafa Salem Trabulsi, the leader of an organization supporting bereaved families affected by the group’s actions, expressed his satisfaction with the verdict.
Although he had hoped for a death penalty for all the suspects, he acknowledged the court’s decision.
Trabulsi’s personal loss includes his missing son and the murder of his brother-in-law at Sirte Square.
Another parent who found closure through the court’s judgment was Fawzia Arhuma. She celebrated the death sentences, as her son had been killed by the militant group at a power station near Sirte.
With a mixture of grief and relief, she declared, “Today my son raised my head. Today I buried my son.”
This court ruling marks a significant step toward delivering justice for the victims of IS’s campaign of terror in Libya, as the country continues to grapple with the aftermath of the militant group’s presence and the lasting impact it has had on the nation.