Libya’s former General Secretary of the General People’s Committee of Libya (prime minister) and Oil Minister Shukri Ghanem has been found dead in the Danube River, Austrian police say.
A spokesman said there were no signs of violence to Sukri Ghanem’s body, which was in the river that flows through Vienna.
Shukri Ghanem, 69, worked as a consultant for a Vienna-based company. He apparently left his home early on Sunday, police said.
The former prime minister defected from Libya as the country was engulfed in the uprising against Col. Muammar Gaddafi last year.
At the time, Shukri Ghanem criticized the bloodshed in Libya, saying that the situation had become “unbearable”, making his position untenable.
He served as Libyan prime minister from 2003 to 2006 and then as oil minister until 2011.
A passer-by reported seeing the body under a bridge near a popular recreation ground in Vienna.
Police spokesman Roman Hahslinger said Shukri Ghanem was dressed when he was found but had no personal identification documents on him, with the exception of one naming the company he was working for. An employee of the company had identified him, the spokesman said.
Roman Hahslinger said that “it is possible that he felt unwell and fell into the water”. A post-mortem examination has been ordered for the coming days.
Shukri Ghanem is understood to have been in Europe since his defection last June, and to have had family in Vienna.
His connection to the city dates back to the time he used to attend meetings of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) representing his country.
The Libyan uprising ended in October last year with the killing of Col. Muammar Gaddafi.
In June Libya will hold elections to a constituent assembly, whose first task will be to draw up a constitution.