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Libya hostage makes court appearance

One of two Swiss citizens sentenced to 16 months in prison in Libya made an appearance in a Tripoli court on Saturday and was allowed to return to the Swiss embassy.

An appeals court told Rachid Hamdani that it had reserved a decision on his appeal until January 31, Hamdani’s lawyer told the AFP news agency.

“Mr Hamdani was present at the proceeding and was able to return to the embassy after the hearing,” said Salah Zahaf.

Hamdani and fellow businessman Max Göldi have been prohibited from leaving Libya since July 19, 2008 after having been charged and subsequently convicted of visa violations and carrying out illegal business activities.

The appeal for Göldi is expected to begin next Thursday.

The two were arrested amid a diplomatic spat between Switzerland and Libya following the arrest of one of Libyan leader Moammar Gadaffi’s sons in a Geneva hotel in July 2008.

They were released later that month and sought refuge in the Swiss embassy. The last time they left the compound, in mid-September for medical tests, they were taken by authorities to an undisclosed location in Tripoli – something Bern called a “kidnapping”.

The two Swiss were returned to the embassy on November 9.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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