Missing photographer 'shot' in Libya

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The Independent Online

A UK-based photographer who has been missing in Libya for more than a month was shot by Libyan forces, his family claimed today.

Anton Hammerl, 41, was gunned down in a remote part of the Libyan desert by forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, according to his relatives, who believe he had since died.



A statement released by his family said: "On 5 April Anton was shot by Gaddafi's forces in an extremely remote location in the Libyan desert.



"According to eyewitnesses, his injuries were such that he could not have survived without medical attention.



"Words are simply not enough to describe the unbelievable trauma the Hammerl family is going through."



The award-winning photographer, who lived in in Surbiton, Surrey, but had South African and Austrian citizenship, had been in Libya for a week.



According to his family, Mr Hammerl was working with American journalists James Foley and Clare Morgana Gillis when he was shot.



The two reporters, who confirmed his shooting, were seized by Libyan officials near the eastern oil town of Brega along with British journalist Nigel Chandler and Spanish photographer Manuel Varela, who works under the name Manu Brabo.



The group were held by the Libyan government for six weeks before being released on Wednesday after a judge gave them a one year suspended sentence for entering the country illegally.



Mr Hammerl's family initially believed that he had also been detained - but news of his shooting came after his colleagues' release.



While he was missing his wife, Penny Sukhraj, said she was given contradictory reports from the Libyan authorities about his whereabouts.



The family statement added: "From the moment Anton disappeared in Libya we have lived in hope as the Libyan officials assured us that they had Anton," his relatives added in a statement.



"It is intolerably cruel that Gaddafi loyalists have known Anton's fate all along and chose to cover it up."

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