UN Human Rights High Commissioner condemns Egyptians' mass beheadings in Libya

Tuesday 17-02-2015 04:21 PM
UN Human Rights High Commissioner condemns Egyptians' mass beheadings in Libya

Relatives of Egyptian Coptic men killed in Libya mourn at their house in al-Our village, in Minya governorate, south of Cairo, Egypt February 16, 2015. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih


CAIRO, Feb 17 (Aswat Masriya) - The beheading of a group of Coptic Egyptians by Libyan militants is a "vile crime targeting people on the basis of their religion," said the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Tuesday.

Twenty Coptic Egyptians were abducted in the Libyan city of Sirte on two separate occasions in December and January, only one week apart. They were beheaded in a video released late Sunday, by a militant group believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq titled "a message signed with blood to the nation of the cross." 

"The brutal murder of these men, and the ghastly attempt to justify and glorify it in a video, should be roundly condemned by everyone, in particular by the people of Libya who should resist the urgings of takfiri groups," High Commissioner Hussein said. "Murdering captives or hostages is prohibited under international law and Islamic law."

Egypt launched at least two rounds of airstrikes in Libya on Monday. The Egyptian military said in a statement the strikes targeted training sites and weapons and ammunition storage sites belonging to Islamic State Fighters in Iraq and Syria, located inside Libya. 

Hussein stressed that the Egyptian air force must, in its response, "ensure full respect of the principles of distinction between civilians and fighters, and civilians objects and military objectives."

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his French counterpart Francois Hollande called on Monday for a UN Security Council convention over the security situation in Libya, according to a statement from the French presidency.

Many Egyptians have previously been caught up in the unprecedented levels of violence in Libya.   

However, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hany Abdelatty told private-owned satellite channel al-Hayah that the Egyptian community in Libya is estimated to be no less than 500,000.   

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