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Second Swiss attends Libya court hearing

The second of two Swiss businessmen held in Libya for the last 18 months has made his first appearance in a Tripoli court, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.

Max Göldi appeared at an appeal hearing four days after another Swiss citizen, Rachid Hamdani, made his first appearance in a Tripoli court.

Göldi has returned to the Swiss embassy, the foreign ministry said. Swiss radio has reported that Göldi was accompanied by foreign diplomats, including a representative from Germany.

Göldi and Hamdani have been prevented from leaving the oil-rich North African nation after having been charged and convicted in absentia of visa violations and carrying out illegal business activities.

Initially scheduled for December 22, their appeal has been postponed several times, with the Libyan judge requiring their presence in court.

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

Göldi and Hamdani 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. and agencies

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