Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Libya: Jordanian Ambassador Fawaz Al-Aitan still held captive

Jordan’s ambassador to Libya, Fawaz Al-Aitan, who was kidnapped in Tripoli on 15 April, remains in captivity, despite talk of his imminent release.

Al-Aitan’s abductors demanded Jordan free Libyan militant prisoner, Mohamed Said Dersi, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in Jordan in 2007 for plotting to blow up a Jordanian airport. This demand reportedly came from Dersi’s family in Benghazi who allegedly appealed to militants in Tripoli to carry out the kidnapping to try to secure their son’s release.

Reports emerged this week that Dersi has now been released but they were quickly denied by the Libyan Foreign Affairs Ministry. The official LANA news agency quoted foreign ministry spokesperson Said Al-Aswad as saying that the ministry had no knowledge of Dersi’s being transported to Libya. A ministry spokesman also told the Jordan Times that the ministry had “no information confirming these reports”.

There are, however, plenty of credible sources who are insisting that Dersi has been freed. This week, his lawyer declared that the militant had been released from prison and that he had already returned to Tripoli. Similarly, the lawyer for many Islamist prisoners in Jordan, Mousa Abedlat, announced that the Jordanian authorities had deported Dersi to Tripoli at dawn on 25 April in return for the release of their ambassador. A Salafist jihadist leader in the south of Jordan, Mohamed Al-Chalabi (a.k.a. Abu Sayaf) also told the Al-Hayat newspaper this week, “Dersi is now asleep in Libya.”

If these reports are true, then it is not clear why Al-Aitan has yet to be freed.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2014 Menas Associates


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