Russians accused of assisting Kaddafi regime face trial in Tripoli
10.04.12 17:32 By Gazeta.ru team
CIS states detainees are charged with launching «surface to air» missiles against NATO forces Photo: AFP
Twenty seven Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians are facing trial in Libya. They are charged with supporting the former Libyan dictator Muammar Kaddafi during the civil war by providing his forces with "surface to air" missiles aimed at NATO airplanes.
In answer to Gazeta.ru's request about the further life of the detainees the Russian foreign ministry has made a special announcement.
"On April 4, the Tripoli court started the trial against Russian citizens Dolgov, Sadrov, as well as some Ukrainian and Belarus nationals, who were detained in August 2011. They were all charged with the restoration of military equipment that was allegedly used by Kaddafi's forces 'to destroy the Libyan people'," the Foreign Ministry replied.
It said that the detention conditions of those charged have worsened dramatically in March after the rebel "Al-Kakaa" battalion changed their location. Russian diplomats have visited their countrymen, giving them food and clothes, as well as providing them with medical assistance. The Foreign Ministry demands that the detention conditions be improved and they want the immediate release of the Russian citizens. "The Libyans insist that their destiny be decided by court," the Ministry said.
The Libyan authorities on Monday said that the detainees are suspected of launching missiles. "They are charged with helping prepare the launches of "surface to air" missiles, whose aim was to shoot down NATO planes which were conducting a UN-approved mission to defend civilians," AFP cited Ali Sheikhm the Libyan Army's General Headquarters spokesman.
Another charge against the detainees is their assistance of Kaddafi's regime by suppressing the revolution and attacking civilians. "These people are seen as mercenaries of the former regime," Ali Sheikh said. According to him, the accused arrived in Libya "without informing their governments and without having their support." The defendants denied all allegations.
One of the accused, Russian Alxander Shadrov, told BBC that he found out about some of the allegations only on Monday, during the trial.
In a telephone conversation with the BBC Russian service, Shadrov said that four unpaid Libyan lawyers, appointed by the judge, would defend the detainees.
"Today a Russian embassy worker came and said that one lawyer's services cost some 200 000 Libyan dinars
He and his cellmates claim they were employed by the "Dakar" Russian-Libyan company and arrived in Libya during military actions between Kaddafi's supporters and enemies to service oil mining equipment. Gazeta.ru sources from the oil sphere claim they had never heard of such company.
Access to the trial for journalists is limited. "Our reporter did not manage to enter the court hall because it is located in a military base," Michael Kazens from the local Libya Herald said to Gazeta.ru.
Stanislav Selivanov, from the Ukrainian human rights organization "Pravozashita," says the prisoners from the CIS are suffering from health problems.
"The detention conditions of our nationals do not conform to health standards signed in international conventions. They [the nationals] are not let out and are held in closed, hot rooms, which led to the exacerbation of chronic illnesses. Many of them are having psychological breakdowns," Selivanov said.
According to Gazeta.ru sources, two of the detained Russian citizens, Alexander Shadrov and Vladimir Dolgov, are working for the Main Intelligence Agency
Special services veteran Anatoliy Ermolin says they may be retired intelligence workers. "Dolgov and Shadrov might be working for a private military company, they usually employ ex-intelligence workers. Private military companies are used when the state does not want to take part in some events openly," the expert says.
"Agentura.ru" web portal editor-in-chief Andrey Soldatov has another version. He thinks that Shadrov and Dolgov might have graduated from, for example, the Institute of Military Interpreters, but they do not necessarily work in intelligence services. "Intelligence services staff do not usually participate in adventures like this," Soldatov says.
For those who have retired from intelligence agencies, countries like Libya and Afghanistan hold the potential for them to build businesses.
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