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Appeals of Libyan hostages put off

The appeal hearings of two Swiss businessmen sentenced earlier this month to 16 months in jail by a Libyan court have been put off to next year.

The Swiss section of the human rights organisation, Amnesty International, quoted “reliable sources” as saying the proceedings due to take place in Tripoli on Tuesday were cancelled.

The delay will allow the defendants, Max Göldi and Rachid Hamdani, to seek access to their court files, according to Amnesty.

The Swiss foreign ministry said neither of the two defendants had left the embassy to appear in court.

Göldi and Hamdani, convicted of visa irregularities and tax evasion, have spent much of their time in the Swiss embassy in Tripoli ever since being prevented from leaving Libya in July 2008.

They also face further charges of doing business illegally in Libya in a separate trial scheduled for the beginning of next month.

The two businessmen were held shortly after Hannibal Gaddafi, one of the sons of the Libyan leader, Moammar Gaddafi, was detained by police in Geneva, along with his wife, on charges of mistreating two servants.

In another development, Hannibal has filed a civil complaint against a local Geneva newspaper that published a police photo from his arrest.

Geneva justice authorities said he was also seeking damages from the cantonal government for leaking the mug shot. A journalist is also being sued.

The court did not specify how much money Gaddafi wants. with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR