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CAIRO, June 4 (Itar-Tass) — Libya’s military court has sentenced a group of military contractors from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus to different prison terms for abetting the Muammar Gaddafi regime, Al Arabiya, a Saudi-owned television news channel, reported on Monday.
One of the two Russian citizens who was accused of coordinating the contractors’ group will face life imprisonment. Another 23 persons – 19 Ukrainian citizens, three Belarusians and one Russian – were sentenced to 10 years in prison and corrective labour.
The trial of Russian citizens – Alexander Shadrov and Vladimir Dolgov, as well as Ukrainian and Belarusian nationals detained by Libya’s Al Qa’qaa rebel brigade began in August 2011. All of them were accused of repairing military hardware that was allegedly used by the Gaddafi regime “for destroying Libyan people.”
Shortly before the trial the suspects were taken to a police precinct of Tripoli, where their detention conditions significantly worsened.
Over this period Russia’s Foreign Ministry and embassy in Tripoli have been maintaining close contacts with their counterparts from Ukraine and Belarus and lawyers to improve the prisoners’ detention conditions and to ensure their soonest possible release. The Libyan side made it clear that the court should pronounce its verdict.
Citizens of three former Soviet Union republics who were employed by the Russian-Libyan oil company Dakar were detained by rebels at the end of August 2011 during the fighting for Tripoli.
At first, they were called as hired snipers abetting the Gaddafi troops. However, later it was found out that they had no weapons and that almost half of the detainees are elderly people unfit for military service.
Later two Ukrainian citizens, including one woman, were released and repatriated.
For a long time no official accusations have been made against the detainees.