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Swiss mull legal action against Libya

Switzerland is examining whether to start international legal proceedings against Libya for taking two Swiss nationals hostage, says the foreign minister.

This content was published on June 18, 2010 - 10:25

Micheline Calmy-Rey told the 20 Minuten Online news site on Friday that the action concerned the kidnapping of Max Göldi and Rachid Hamdani on September 18, 2009.

On that date they were lured outside the Swiss embassy in Tripoli for a medical check-up but disappeared and were then held separately in secret locations until November 9, she said.

“They were isolated for eight weeks,” Calmy-Rey told the news site, adding that they had no light or contact with the outside world – a lawyer, family member or Swiss embassy.

She did not give any details about the precise international body to whom Bern may address the legal complaint.

But she reiterated that Switzerland did not wish to take retaliatory measures: "We are angry of course, me included. But retaliatory measures do not serve our interests.”

The cabinet minister also denied that the SFr1.5 million ($1.33 million) Switzerland has paid to a German bank account for the release of Göldi was a “ransom”.

The Swiss businessman, who had been caught in the middle of a row between Switzerland and Libya, arrived in Switzerland on Monday morning after being detained for almost two years in Libya.

The Swiss foreign ministry on Wednesday evening confirmed a Swiss radio report and said the money would be transferred to Tripoli if the person responsible for publishing in a Geneva newspaper police photos of Hannibal Gaddafi, the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, is not found and brought to justice.

Göldi and Hamdani were detained by Libya in July 2008 in retaliation for the arrest in Geneva of Hannibal Gaddafi, one of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s sons. Hamdani was released earlier this year.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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