BENGHAZI, Libya -- Each year, when the holy month of Ramadan arrives, Ibrahim Shwehdi is gripped by ineffable sadness. A month of reflection and mercy is, for him, an occasion of grief and loss.
It was during Ramadan in 1984, just before Libyans sat down at sunset to break the daily fast, that Shwehdi's brother Sadiq Hamed Shwehdi was hanged before a crowd at a Benghazi basketball arena.
The execution was televised live, and people across eastern Libya watched in horror as thousands in the arena cheered. It was unthinkable for a Muslim leader, even one as repressive as Moammar Gadhafi, to stage a public execution during Ramadan, a month of prayer, charity and fasting. Yet Gadhafi ordered 11 public executions of dissidents around the country during Ramadan.