ICC detainees return from Libya | News | DW | 02.07.2012
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ICC detainees return from Libya

Four ICC officials have returned to The Hague after being detained by Libyan authorities on charges of spying. Officials from the ICC have apologized, but will conduct their own investigation into the affair.

The four International Criminal Court envoys detained by Libyan authorities for the past month returned to The Hague, Netherlands on Monday.

Libya had released the ICC envoys, who were arrested after they visited the son of former leader Moammar Gadhafi, Seif al-Islam.

"The four members (of the ICC team) were released," brigade commander Ajmi al-Atiri told journalists in Zintan, a mountainous town southwest of the capital, Tripoli, where the group were being held. The town is effectively beyond Libyan central government control.

Abdel-Aziz stated that the release followed the brokering of an agreement between Tripoli and the ICC; the latter will continue with its own investigation into the affair and has promised to keep Libya informed with respect to its outcome.

The ICC has apologized for the "difficulties" that transpired as a result of the delegation's visit.

The four officials, including the Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor, had been detained in Zintan since June 7. The delegation had travelled there to help Seif al-Islam compile his defense for his hand in the Libyan government crackdown on rebels that ultimately led to the ousting and then slaying of his father.

Taylorwas accused of attempting to smuggle spying equipment into her meeting with Seif al-Islam, in the form of a pen camera, and trying to deliver a coded letter from Mohammed Ismail, Seif al-Islam's former right-hand man, who is still a wanted man in Libya. Lebanese-born interpreter Helene Assaf was accused of being an accomplice.

sej,slk/pfd (AFP, Reuters)