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Göldi to report to prison in Libya

A Swiss businessman facing jail time in Libya for immigration offences will report to prison to begin serving a four-month sentence, his lawyer has said.

Max Göldi is currently holed up in the Swiss embassy in Tripoli. His statement, delivered through his lawyer Salah Zahaf, came after Libya said it would retaliate if Switzerland did not hand over the businessman by 12:00pm local time on Monday.

Göldi’s case has been at the centre of a fierce diplomatic row between Libya and Switzerland that escalated last week when Tripoli stopped issuing visas to citizens of most European countries.

The conviction of another Swiss citizen, Rachid Hamdani, was overturned on appeal. Hamdani, who also holds a Tunisian passport, is preparing to leave Libya on Monday, Zahaf told the AFP news agency.

On Sunday night, Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa summoned European Union ambassadors to hand them the ultimatum on Göldi.

"No embassy should become a haven from justice," Koussa told the Associated Press late Sunday. "I hope this will not force us to adopt other measures."

No details were given of what action the Libyan authorities plan to take.

The Swiss foreign ministry said it had no comment on the situation. But it did say that it was "still working towards a solution".

Göldi’s case has been at the centre of a diplomatic row between Libya and Switzerland stemming from the 2008 arrest of one of leader Moammar Gaddafi’s sons in Geneva.

The Libyans had prevented both Swiss nationals from leaving the country since July 2008. Göldi’s lawyer said he would apply to Libya’s top judicial officials for clemency.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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