Huda Ben Amer (in Arabic هدى بن عامر) is a former Libyan politician. A follower of the Libyan ruler, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, she was the Secretary of the General People's Congress of Inspection People's Control[1] and mayor of Benghazi until the Libyan Civil War.[2]

Ben Amer was born in Marj near Benghazi and attended the Garyounis University in Benghazi.[2] Belonging to a poor family without influence, Ben Amer rose to national prominence at a public execution staged by the Gaddafi government in 1984. The event in Benghazi's basketball stadium had been announced as the trial of one of Gaddafi's political enemies, al-Sadek Hamed Al-Shuwehdy, an engineer who had been peacefully campaigning against the colonel's rule. But instead the schoolchildren and students who had been assembled for the purpose were made to see al-Shuwehdy's execution by hanging. While the hanged man writhed on the gallows, Ben Amer stepped forward and grabbed al-Shuwehdy's legs, pulling him down until he stopped struggling and died.[2]

That display of ruthlessness, about which she later liked to boast—she is remembered in Benghazi by her saying "we don't need talking, we need hangings"—earned her the enduring loathing of the people of Benghazi and the nickname Huda Al-Shannaga—"Huda the Executioner".[2][3] However, it impressed Gaddafi, who had been watching the execution on live TV. He subsequently promoted Ben Amer to high government posts, including twice mayor of Benghazi and a leading member of the Legion Thoria, Gaddafi's organization of revolutionary committees. Eventually she became a favorite of Gaddafi, and one of the richest and most powerful women in Libya.[2]

In the course of the national uprising in early 2011, a crowd stormed Ben Amer's sprawling mansion in Benghazi and, finding her gone, burned it to the ground.[3] Later in March 2011, she was seen next to Gaddafi on one of his televised addresses.[2] On 2 September 2011, Guma el-Gamaty, the UK coordinator of the National Transitional Council posted on Twitter that Ben Amer had been arrested in Tripoli by NTC forces.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Secretariat of the General People's Congress Holds First Meeting After Reshuffle Archived 1 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine The Tripoli Post 6 February 2010
  2. ^ a b c d e f Meo, Nick (6 March 2011). "'Huda the executioner' - Libya's devil in female form". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
  3. ^ a b McGreal, Chris (12 March 2011). "Libya: Benghazi's rebels know it is now them or Gaddafi". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 March 2011. - video [1]
  4. ^ Bowcott, Owen (2 September 2011). "Libyan rebels place notorious Gaddafi regime figure 'under arrest'". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 September 2011.