Sami El Khawafi

The Libyan city of Benghazi was rocked by a series of targeted killings on Thursday and Friday night, leaving 10 people dead including officials, journalists and activists. Among the slain were 18-year-old Tawfik Bensaud and 17-year-old Sami El-Kawafi, both activists. Bensaud and El-Kawafi were reportedly shot and killed by a group of men while driving through central Benghazi on Friday.

The identity of the shooters is not known, but many blame the attacks on armed groups operating in Benghazi. Bensaud, a blogger, was considered one of the country’s prominent youth voices calling for a civil movement. Many took to social media to discuss the killings.

Sami El- Khawafi was a young social activist and human rights defender. During his career as an activist, this 17 year old boy dedicated his life to defending the rights of the Libyan people in general and the young people of Benghazi in particular.

Together with Tawfik Bensaud, he created the Libyan Youth Movement whose objective was to denounce the violation of human rights in Benghazi. For the the young people of Libya, Sami  was the voice of the voiceless, the future of a Libya without violence as tweeted one of the commentators  “They’re targeting young people, cause they know they are Libya’s future. They’re afraid young people will take power from them.”  (Fadwa).

Through his fight in order to restore the dignity and the respect of Libyans’ rights, Sami dedicated his life to helping the Tawergha IDP kids with their reading. By doing so, Sami showed that education is the basis of all knowledge needed to establish a real democracy based on the respect of human right values.

As it is always said “the dead are not dead“, Sami El- Khawafi will remain a remarkable hero to the people of Benghazi. His work will continue to provide a good example for future Libyan generations.


If you would like to provide a personal recollection, please email us at: HRDMemorial@frontlinedefenders.org

Region:MENA

Country:Libya

Department/Province/State:Benghazi

Nickname:no information

Sex1:Male

Age:no information

Date of Killing:19/09/2014

Previous Threats:Yes

Type of Work:Social protester

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:Civil and Political Rights

Sector Detail:Freedom of Expression

More information:Front Line Defenders

1This database records an individual's chosen gender identity. If they do not self-identify as male or female they can use the option of recording other/neither or use the term NBGI (non binary gender identity).