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Libya sets date for appeal of two Swiss

A human rights organisation says Libya has set December 22 as the date it will hear an appeal by two Swiss nationals held in Tripoli.

The two men, who work for Swiss companies, have been prevented from leaving the country since July 2008. On December 2, they were sentenced to 16 months in prison by a Libyan court for visa irregularities and tax evasion.

The hearing date was given to Human Rights Watch (HRW) when a delegation from the organisation visited Max Göldi and Rachid Hamdani at the Swiss embassy in Tripoli during the past two weeks.

However, there are doubts the hearing will go ahead since both men will have to be present in court.

HRW expressed its concern about this condition since Libya used a similar pretext in September to lure Göldi and Hamdani out of the embassy, and kidnap them.

The human rights body also said the Swiss are facing charges of illegal business dealings. This second case could go to court on December 18 or 19, but the presence of the defendants is not required.

HRW has criticised the holding of Göldi and Hamdani, which it says is a reprisal for the temporary detention in Geneva of a son of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi 17 months ago. and agencies

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