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Libyan hostages to face second trial this month

Two Swiss men sentenced to 16 months in jail for violating residency and labour laws in Libya will face trial for illegal economic activities later this month.

An unnamed Libyan foreign ministry official said the two businessmen would face charges of conducting commercial activities in Libya without a licence.

The second trial is scheduled for December 15. The men have one week to appeal the initial judgement.

Monday's speedy trial was reportedly held with no foreign diplomats or reporters in the court.

Neither of the two defendants was present in court, according to their lawyer. They are both still staying at the Swiss embassy in Tripoli.

Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz said he was surprised at the severity of the first judgement, particularly as the men have already been detained for 16 months in Libya. The decision came a day after Swiss voters approved a ban on the construction of minarets in Switzerland.

Max Göldi and Rachid Ramdani were detained in July 2008 on alleged visa violations days after Swiss police arrested Hannibal Gaddafi, the son of Libya's leader, and his wife for allegedly beating up their servants in a Geneva hotel.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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