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Third Swiss sought refuge in Tripoli embassy

A third Swiss national stayed at the Swiss embassy in Libya during the summer and autumn of 2008, the foreign ministry confirmed on Sunday.

This content was published on June 20, 2010 - 18:13

The man was eventually able to leave the country, while his two compatriots Max Göldi and Rachid Hamdani were detained. Hamdani was released in February this year, but Göldi had to serve a four-month prison sentence, only returning to Switzerland a week ago.

The foreign ministry said the third Swiss spent “several weeks” at the Swiss embassy, confirming a report in the Matin Dimanche newspaper.

“Thanks to efforts made by the foreign ministry, he was eventually able to obtain a visa and leave Libya at the end of 2008,” it said, refusing to give further details, such as why all three men didn’t receive the same treatment.

According to the Matin Dimanche, the man is a 35-year-old specialist welder of dual German-Swiss nationality who was working on a pipeline for a German company in the east of the country.

The paper said he was prevented from leaving the country on July 19, 2008, the same day that Göldi and Hamdani were arrested in Tripoli for visa irregularities.

That was days after the arrest by Geneva police of Hannibal Gaddafi, son of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, and his wife, who were charged with abusing their staff in a hotel.

They were released on bail and left Switzerland, but the incident sparked a diplomatic crisis that is still being resolved.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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