VIENNA, AUSTRIA (BNO NEWS) -- Former Libyan prime minister Shokri Ghanem, whose lifeless body was found in a river in the Austrian capital of Vienna over the weekend, died by drowning and there are no indications of foul play, police said on Monday.
Ghanem's body was found by a passerby at around 8:40 a.m. local time on Sunday near a popular beach known as Copa Cagrana in New Danube, a side channel of the Danube river. He was found fully-clothed but was not carrying personal identification documents, except a paper belonging to a company he worked for.
Wien police spokesman Roman Hahslinger said, based on preliminary results from an autopsy carried out on early Monday morning, Ghanem died as a result of drowning. There are no indications of suicide or a third party being involved, he said, although several Libyan officials have questioned whether Ghanem may have been pushed into the water by agents who supported the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.
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, who was 69, 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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