Government jet returns without hostages

The government jet that had been sitting at Tripoli airport waiting for the release of two Swiss hostages in Libya has returned home.

This content was published on August 28, 2009 - 08:34

A statement from the finance ministry said that the two businessmen are still in the Libyan capital and preparations for their return were continuing.

The men have passports and exit visas but are awaiting final clearance from the Libyan justice authorities.

The two, who are at the Swiss embassy in Tripoli, were detained after the arrest in Geneva in July 2008 of one of the sons of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi. Hannibal Gaddafi was held following a complaint that his domestic staff had been attacked. Charges were never brought.

The statement added that a Swiss delegation had returned in the jet, which was "required elsewhere". It had been waiting since Tuesday.

Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz, who also heads the finance ministry, travelled to Tripoli on Thursday last week and apologised for the "unjustified" arrest of Hannibal and his wife in July 2008.

An agreement between the two countries – Merz signed versions in English and Arabic – prompted an outcry in Switzerland and sparked concerns about violations of national law and rules governing the collective decision-making process of the government.

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