VIENNA, AUSTRIA (BNO NEWS) -- Former Libyan prime minister Shokri Ghanem, who defected from Muammar Gaddafi's regime last year, was found dead in the Austrian capital of Vienna on early Sunday morning, police said, but his cause of death was not immediately known. He was 69.
Wien police spokesman Roman Hahslinger said Ghanem's body was found by a passerby at around 8:40 a.m. local time near a popular beach known as Copa Cagrana in New Danube, a side channel of the Danube river. "The corpse was recovered and there was a police commissioning at the location," he said.
Hahslinger said the initial examination revealed no signs of a third party being involved in Ghanem's death, but an autopsy scheduled for early next week will determine the cause of death. Ghanem, who was reportedly dressed when he was found on Sunday, had no personal identification documents on him.
Educated in the United States, Ghanem was one of the few senior Libyan officials who attempted to use their influence to allow reform in the African country and open it to Western investment. But his plans were often blocked by other Libyan officials, including long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi, who were opposed to reform.
Ghanem took over as prime minister in June 2003 but was forced out in March 2006 after which he assumed the role of Oil Minister. But when pro-democracy protests erupted across Libya in February 2011, which were met with a violent crackdown by security forces, Ghanem expressed his unhappiness and fled to Rome where he announced his defection.
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