By George Grant.
London, 25 September:
The Libyan revolutionary said to have been the first to discover Muammar Qaddafi last year died today at the American Hospital in Paris.
Omran Shaban claimed to have discovered the former dictator on 20 October 2011 hiding in a drainage pipe in his hometown of Sirte.
Shaban, who hailed from Misrata, was himself critically injured earlier this year after he was captured in the former pro-Qaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid.
Together with a colleague, Shaban had been dispatched to the western hill-town on 12 July as part of the Libya Shield brigade, following the capture of two prominent Misratan journalists there four days earlier.
Said to have been shot in the neck, Shaban is believed to have been severely tortured over the course of a two-month custody in Bani Walid, purportedly on account of his role in Qaddafi’s capture.
Following his release on 13 September, doctors from Misrata said that he had received a bullet to the spine and was in a state of paralysis.
He was subsequently transferred to Paris where he succumbed to his injuries.
Reacting to the news of his death, National Congress President Mohamed Magarief described Shaban as a “martyr”, and pledged to find and prosecute those responsible for his treatment whilst in Bani Walid.
Magarief had himself led the negotiations which led to Shaban’s eventual release.
“I received with great sadness the news of the death of Omran Shaban”, Magarief said today. “He was a martyr who suffered from kidnapping and torture which led, in the end, to his death.
“This is a punishable crime for which the perpetrators must be found and prosecuted.”