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MOSCOW, May 8 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian citizens Vladimir Dolgov and Alexander Shadrov accused of abetting the Qaddafi regime will stand trial in Tripoli, Russian Presidential Representative for Africa Mikhail Margelov told the Ekho Moskvy radio on Tuesday.
Twenty-seven citizens of three former Soviet republics working for the Russian-Libyan oil plant Dakar were seized by insurgents in late August 2011 during the fighting for Tripoli. They were suspected of being snipers fighting on the Qaddafi side at first. But it appeared that the alleged ‘snipers’ had no guns and about half of them were elderly men, who were hardly eligible for military service.
Twenty-five people remain in custody, among them two Russians, three Belarusians and 20 Ukrainians (other sources estimate the number of detained Ukrainians at 19 and 22). Two more Ukrainians, including the only detained woman, were permitted to go home a short time ago. No official charges were brought against the detainees for a long time, and certain progress emerged only 45 days earlier. Libya claimed the suspects were giving maintenance to military hardware the Qaddafi regime used for “destroying the Libyan people.”
“We are upset with a dragging out court judgment on the Russian citizens indicted with abetting the Qaddafi regime in Libya,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said earlier, noting that a large number of Ukrainian and Belarusian citizens had been detained as well. “We act jointly and keep contact with our colleagues,” he said.
In the words of Margelov, the Russian embassy in Libya is doing its best to ensure the release of the Russian citizens. “Russia has always had the sole friend in Libya, under any regimes, that is the people of Libya. We have never fought against them,” he said.