Jordan to hand over Libyan militant in exchange for kidnapped ambassador
Jordan has agreed to hand over a Libyan militant to Tripoli in exchange for the release of its ambassador abducted in the North African country in mid April.
Gunmen kidnapped Jordan’s envoy to Libya, Fawaz al-Itan, on April 15 and demanded the release of Mohamed Dersi, a Libyan militant serving a life sentence on charges of plotting to explode the main airport in Jordan.
According to a Monday report by Libya’s state news agency LANA, Sohar Banun, an undersecretary in the country’s Justice Ministry, said both countries had agreed that the envoy would be freed in exchange for Jordan decreasing Dersi’s sentence given in 2007 and permitting him to complete his prison term in Libya.
“The Jordanian authorities expressed their total readiness to solve this crisis, confirming that the ambassador will be released in exchange for reducing the term of the Libyan prisoner and sending him home to complete his sentence,” LANA quoted Banun as saying.
“The crisis will be solved according to a memorandum of understanding between the two countries,” he added.
Abductions have become rife in Libya since the 2011 uprising that resulted in the toppling of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Officials are most often targeted, but diplomats and journalists have also been the target of kidnappings, threats and attacks in the country.
Libyan militants have also snatched two Tunisian diplomats to demand the release of fellow militants imprisoned in Tunisia for attacking security forces there in 2011.
“Regarding the file of Libyans jailed in Tunisia ... Tunisia confirms its wish to cooperate with the Libyan government, especially with the kidnapping of the Tunisian diplomats,” Banun stated.
Nearly three years after the fall of Gaddafi, Libya is still grappling with rising insecurity as former rebels refuse to lay down arms despite efforts by the central government to impose law and order.