Huda ben Amar – The Bitch of Benghazi apprehended

by Omar Shtewi

Huda ben Amar, according to Libya’s new authorities, has been captured.  If this is true, it represents an outstanding chance for the Libyan people to achieve justice and closure, following 42 years of the most brutal oppression imaginable.

Huda el Shannagah - Huda the Hangwoman, as she was known in Libya

Ben Amar made her name and her fortune in 1984 in the city of Benghazi.

At the basketball stadium in the centre of town, a show trial was held for a young Libyan man – El Sadek Hamad el Shuwehdi.

Recently returned from the United States, where he had completed a degree in engineering, the young man, who was 30 years old at the time of his execution, was horrified with the situation in Libya.  He organised a  group of young Libyans dedicated to peaceful protest.  He was was arrested in the early hours of the morning and, months later, taken to the basketball stadium in Benghazi where he was tried by Gaddafi’s so-called ‘Revolutionaries’.

On his knees before a microphone, el Shuwehdi was forced to confess to ‘terrorist’ activities.  Judgement was swift – guilty.  El Shuwehdi was sentenced to be hanged until dead there and then.

The crowd – mostly children and young people gathered for a lesson on the price of defying the regime – gasped, wept and cried out for God’s intervention.

But it was ben Amar who stole the show.  When the young man’s legs were still seen to be moving, the Bitch of Benghazi grabbed his legs and pulled him downward, so as to tighten the noose.  As Al Arabiya explains

Upon hearing the verdict, Amer began singing pro-Qaddafi slogans and called for Shuwehdi to be executed in a public square. She was the one who pulled the chair from under Shuwehdi’s legs on the gallows. During the hanging, the audience was shocked to see the Shuwehdi’s legs still jerking after the rope was released; they were even more shocked when Amer approached his hanging body and pulled on his legs in an attempt to end his life.

Her efforts gained her the attention of Gaddafi, who was watching the live feed from Tripoli.  She was swiftly promoted and became one of Gaddafi’s closest colleagues.  Her power – and her wealth – grew.  So too did her reputation as a blood-thirsty enforcer of Gaddafi’s rule.

Her sprawling mansion was among the first buildings in Benghazi to burn when the Revolution began.

Thankfully, she escaped so that she could be preserved to face the kind of justice that she denied others.