MOSCOW, June 5 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Special Presidential Representative for Africa Senator Mikhail Margelov hopes that the verdict, which the Libyan military tribunal passed to Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian citizens, will be reviewed.
“From the moment these citizens were put in arrest Russian diplomats are keeping constantly in touch with Libyan authorities, which assured that the criminal case will not be tried, if it is tried the verdict will be lenient,” he told Itar-Tass on Tuesday. “But the verdict even with the particularities of the region in view turned out to be unexpected and harsh,” Margelov noted.
He links this decision of the Libyan legal authorities with the fact that “a feast of winners was in full swing in that country in the post-revolutionary period.” However, the Russian special presidential representative believes that “a tense situation persists for too long and does not favour a reasonable construction of the Libyan foreign policy.”
“To begin new relations with Russia, Ukraine and Belarus from life imprisonment for the Russian citizen and ten years in prison for other defendants each, is, to put it mildly, not practical and not quite prospective, if to take into account notoriously quickly changing international relations in our difficult times,” Margelov noted. “I would like to hope that Libya will get back to all circumstances of this issue, a disproportionate and biased court verdict will be revised,” he added.
The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier voiced indignation over “an unfair and unjustifiably harsh verdict.” Spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Lukashevich assured that “all necessary efforts for the soonest settlement of the problem and the revision of this obviously biased verdict will be immediately continued in coordination with Ukrainian and Belarusian colleagues in legal framework and at the political level.”
The State Duma also pledged to give the best possible assistance for the return of the convicts to the homeland. Russia will insist on the extradition of its citizens through all international and diplomatic channels and on the aid to convicted Ukrainian and Belarusian citizens, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs and Relations with Compatriots Living Abroad and Vice-Speaker of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Leonid Slutsky, stated. He did not rule out that the negotiations should be held not only with incumbent Libyan authorities, but also it will be needed to agree with France and the United States, which are the former members of the coalition for toppling Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
The final session of the Libyan military court over the criminal case against two Russian citizens Alexander Shadrov and Vladimir Dolgov, as well as 25 Ukrainian and Belarusian citizens, who were detained in Tripoli on August 27, 2011, was held on June 4. At the end of the trial all defendants were found guilty of abetting at Gaddafi’s regime and an attempted murder through the restoration of military hardware.” Shadrov, who was found as a mastermind of the criminal group, was sentenced to life in prison, Dolgov and all Ukrainian and Belarusian citizens were sentenced to ten years of correctional works.
The group of citizens from three former Soviet republics that worked on contract at the Russian-Libyan oil plant Dakar was detained by the rebels at the end of August 2011 during the battle for the Libyan capital. At first they were named as mercenary snipers, who were fighting for Gaddafi. However, it turned out later that “the snipers” did not have any weapons and about a half of detainees are elderly people, who are hardly fit for the military service. Later two Ukrainian citizens, including the only captured woman, were released to their homeland. No official accusations were brought against the prisoners for a long time.