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ICC lawyers not to be freed in Libya until investigation completed

June 11, 2012, 7:20 UTC+3

Among the detained people is a Russian citizen, former ambassador to the Netherlands Alexander Khodakov

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SYDNEY, June 11 (Itar-Tass) —— International Criminal Court lawyer Melinda Taylor, an Australian citizen, will not be freed until the additional investigation is completed, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said on Monday, referring to Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Muhamed Aziz, who told him this during the telephone talk on Sunday evening.

In the talk, the Australian minister asked for soonest settlement of the problem and immediate access for consular diplomats to Taylor.

The minister also said he had talked by telephone with ICC President Song Sang-Hyun, who assured that everything would be done to free Taylor and her three colleagues detained in Zintan, Libya.

As was reported earlier, International Criminal Court President Song Sang-Hyun demanded to immediately free the detained ICC delegation.

Among the detained people is a Russian citizen, former ambassador to the Netherlands Alexander Khodakov.

The ICC president asked the Libyan authorities to immediately take measures to guarantee safety for the delegation members and release them. He reminded that they had immunity, since they were on an official trip agreed on with the Libyan authorities.

The International Criminal Court hopes the situation will be settled in accordance with the spirit of cooperation that has existed between the court and the Libyan authorities, the president noted.

According to the ICC press service, the delegation members were detained in Libya after they visited Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam in the jail on Thursday, June 7. However, it became known only on Saturday evening. Saif al-Islam is held in the jail in Zintan since the day of his arrest in November 2011 to stand trial in Libya.

The four detained delegation members are 48-year-old Spaniard Esteban Peralta Lossilla, 32-year-old Lebanese Helen Assaf, 36-year-old Australian Melinda Taylor and 60-year-old Russian citizen Alexander Khodakov. He was ambassador to the Netherlands from 1998 to 2003 and afterwards worked at The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Since September 2011, he is senior adviser to the ICC Registry.

The ICC delegation is held under guard by the Zintan brigade, whose head Alajmi Ali Ahmed al-Atiri said that the delegation would be released only after being questioned.

The ICC insists on extradition of Saif al-Islam Gaddaffi, charging him with crimes against humanity. Tripoli believes Gaddafi's son must be tried in his home country for his crimes committed against Libyan people.

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