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Brother calls for Libyan hostage to be freed

The brother of a Swiss national detained in Libya for 17 months has appealed to the authorities to release him as a "humanitarian gesture".

Moritz Göldi told Swiss television that his brother, Max, was not well and had been suffering from nightmares and anxiety attacks since he and fellow Swiss Rachid Hamdani were abducted by the Libyan authorities and kept in a secret location for a seven-week period.

They were returned to the Swiss embassy on November 9. Göldi said the time in isolation had been an "extremely stressful situation" for his brother.

Göldi told the Rundshau news programme that generosity and hospitality were important traits in Libyan society and so appealed to the government and Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi to allow the two to leave the country.

He also praised the Swiss foreign ministry's cooperation in calling for their release and said he did not understand criticism of President Hans-Rudolf Merz's trip to Tripoli to try to secure their release. Earlier this month Rachid Hamdani's wife Bruna also appealed for them to be freed.

The pair have been detained in Libya since July 2008. They were arrested shortly after the detention of Gaddafi's son Hannibal in Geneva over charges of mistreating two of his domestic staff. The Swiss nationals were initially arrested and held for ten days and then released, but were refused exit visas.

On November 12, Libya announced the two men had been charged with tax evasion and failing to follow visa regulations and faced a trial.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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