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Libyan Rights Defender: Revolution Will Be Lost Without No Fly-Zone

Mourners react during the funeral of relative who was killed in weapons dump attack in Benghazi, Libya, March 5, 2011

A leading Libyan human rights defender says it is doubtful the revolution in his country will succeed in toppling Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi if the West does not impose a no-fly zone. He says Mr. Gadhafi would not hesistate in bombing his own people.

Secretary-General of the Libyan League for Human Rights, Sliman Bouchuiguir, describes Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi as a very violent man. He says Gadhafi will use anything within his power to destroy the revolution.

“There is no limit in the use of force and the use of violence. So, I do not expect that Mr. Gadhafi will give up very easily his power. In fact, he threatened the Libyans that either you accept me as a ruler or I will destroy the country and… a civil war will be declared in Libya,” he said.

Bouchuiguir says the Libyan capital, Tripoli, which is Gadhafi's power base, essentially has been transformed into a ghost town. When the popular uprising against the regime began in February, he says thousands of people protested on the city streets.

But, he says, since then Colonel Gadhafi has used his helicopters to bomb civilians in the city. And, most of the people are afraid for their lives and are remaining indoors.

He says the national council, a transitional government established in the East, worries that Gadhafi will unleash his air power against the civilian population.

“They are requesting, indeed, the Western world to declare a no-fly zone over Libya. Otherwise, I do not think there is any future for the government in the East and for the end of the revolution in general. Gadhafi can use the airplane, the helicopter, as he used them in Tripoli, to kill the whole movement,” said Bouchuiguir.

Bouchuiguir says no one knows how many people have been killed or wounded over the past few weeks. But, he notes the Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights estimates between 3,000 and 6,000 people may have been killed in Libya.

A few days ago, the U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, estimated the number of dead at 1,000.

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