Libya: Swiss businessman handed over by embassy

Published February 22nd, 2010 - 03:33 GMT

A Swiss businessman convicted by a Libyan court of violating residency laws left his country's embassy in Tripoli on Monday and surrendered to Libyan police. Max Goeldi and another Swiss businessman, Rasid Hamdani, have been at the center of a dispute between Libya and Switzerland that started in 2008 after the Swiss police detained Hannibal Gadhafi, the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, and his wife.

 

Messrs. Goeldi and Hamdani were charged with conducting business illegally and violating residency laws, and both men stayed at the Swiss Embassy during their trials. Mr. Hamdani was acquitted of both charges, while Mr. Goeldi was convicted of violating residency laws.

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Libyan authorities, who issued a deadline to the Swiss to hand Goeldi over by Monday, escorted him out of the embassy Monday afternoon and into a waiting car, where he was handcuffed and whisked away, the AP reported.

 

Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa promised that Goeldi will be detained in a "suitable and respectable place" and will be allowed to receive visitors. Mr. Hamdani, meanwhile, was arranging the necessary documents that would allow him to leave Libya, his lawyer said.

 

Earlier this month, a Libyan appeals court reduced Goeldi's prison sentence from 16 months to four months. Goeldi's lawyer, Saleh al-Zahif, said that he would try to negotiate Goeldi's handover so that the he could appeal his four-month sentence to the supreme court.

 

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