Russian National Among ICC Team Detained in Libya

A Russian national, Alexander Khodakov, is among the team of four delegates from the International Criminal Court (ICC) detained in Libya last week, BBC reported.

The Hague-based ICC confirmed in a statement on Saturday that Libyan authorities detained last Thursday four of its staff members, who came to the city of Zintan, to meet for talks with jailed Seif al-Islam, one of the sons of deposed Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

According to BBC, the four detained ICC staffers are Australia’s Melinda Taylor and her Lebanese interpreter Helen Assaf, Spain’s Peralta Losilla and Khodakov, a former Russian ambassador to the Netherlands.

The ICC demanded the immediate release of its staff members and sent a group of its representatives for negotiations to Libya on Sunday.

AFP earlier reported citing Ahmed Jehani, the Libyan envoy to the ICC, that only two of the delegates were arrested, namely Taylor and Assaf, while the Spaniard and the Russian decided to stay with them on their own accord.

“Melinda was arrested because she was caught exchanging papers with the accused Saif al-Islam,” Jehani was quoted as saying.

He also said that Lebanese interpreter Assaf was arrested as Taylor’s accomplice.

The International Criminal Court wants to handle the trial over al-Islam, accused of crimes against humanity, while Libyan interim government insists that he must stand the trial in his native country.

Seif al-Islam, 39, was arrested in mid-November in the south of Libya as he was attempting to cross the border with Niger and then he was taken to jail in Zintan.

Gaddafi’s regime was overthrown in October by opposition forces with NATO’s assistance after a seven-month civil war. Gaddafi, who had ruled the country for almost 42 years, was captured and killed by rebels near his home town of Sirte in late October.


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