First Published: 2010-06-21

Swiss President condemns leaks on Libya rescue

Leuthard regrets leaks to media over planned action to smuggle two Swiss hostages out of Libya.


Middle East Online

Doris Leuthard

ZURICH - Switzerland's President Doris Leuthard on Monday condemned leaks to the media over plans to smuggle two Swiss nationals out of Libya, where they were detained.

"Unfortunately, in the last week, due to indiscretion in various media, reports about planned action to free the two Swiss hostages ended up being made public," Leuthard said.

"The Federal Council strongly condemns such indiscretion, which fall under the criminal code," she said, stressing that the information was of "utmost secrecy."

The Tribune de Geneve daily reported Saturday that Switzerland considered plans to smuggle Max Goeldi and Rachid Hamdani, who had been blocked from leaving Libya, out of the country with the help of the Swiss army.

The two businessmen were blocked from leaving Libya in a tit-for-tat action after the brief arrest in Switzerland of one of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's sons in July 2008.

In September 2009, they were taken from the Swiss embassy, where they were staying, by Libyan officials to a secret location where they were held until November, when they were returned to the embassy.

Hamdani was allowed to leave Libya in February, while Goeldi was sentenced to jail for visa offences and only released this month.

In an interview published Friday, Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said Switzerland was checking if it could launch proceedings in an international body against Libya over the "kidnapping" of the two Swiss citizens.

On Friday, a local populist party, the Geneva Citizens' Movement, said it filed a complaint with Swiss prosecutors against Kadhafi for "kidnapping".

Experts said these actions would not help Bern and Tripoli normalise their relations.

Hasni Abidi, who heads the Geneva-based Study and Research Center for the Arab and Mediterranean World, said they give Tripoli the impression that "the Swiss are not sincere, that they do not want a normalisation of relations."

Andrea Bianchi, international law professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, noted that Switzerland "must choose if it wants to go towards a stabilisation of relations" or if it wants to engage in a "perspective of confrontation."


Iraq launches operation to clear last IS holdouts from desert

Divided Syria opposition meets in Riyadh

Lebanon’s Hariri suspends resignation

Revolt in US State Department over child soldier law

Outrage in Iraq over 'child marriage' bill

Syrian opposition aims for unity at talks in Riyadh

Egypt police kill 3 Islamists in shootout

Turkey unsure if Assad to be part of Syria political transition

Migrant arrivals from Libya down since EU deal

Palestinian factions leave Cairo talks with little progress

Sudan’s Bashir looks to Putin for ‘protection’ from US aggression

China, Djibouti forge 'strategic' ties

IS propaganda channels fall quiet in 'unprecedented' hiatus

Kremlin to create Syria congress despite Turkey ‘reservations’

Netanyahu berates deputy minister for 'offensive' remarks on US Jews

Egypt PM heads to Germany for medical treatment

Egypt destroys 10 SUVs carrying arms on Libya border

Saudi-led coalition to reopen Yemen airport, port to aid

Turkey court rules to keep Amnesty chief in jail

France calls for UN meeting on Libya slave-trading

Egypt detains 29 for allegedly spying for Turkey

WTO panel to hear Qatar’s complaint against UAE blockade

Three dead as diphtheria spreads in Yemen

Israel seizes explosive material at Gaza border

Activists call for release of UK journalist held by IS

Bahrain upholds jail sentence for activist

Iraq attacks at lowest since 2014

Turkey continues crackdown in post-coup probe

Hariri back in Lebanon

Putin to hold Syria peace talks with Erdogan, Rouhani

US carries out air strikes against IS in Libya

Lebanon's Hariri in Egypt ahead of return home

Rebels say Sanaa airport 'ready to run' after coalition bombing

Greece to amend historic sharia law for Muslim minority

Turkey to ask Germany to extradite top coup suspect

Car bomb in northern Iraq kills at least 24

Morocco bans bitcoin transactions

13 million Syrians need aid despite relative drop in violence

Sudan urged to improve plight of Darfur's displaced people

Brain drain means Syria can’t recover for a generation

Palestinians close communication lines with Americans

Anti-IS coalition strikes drop to lowest number

German police arrest six Syrians ‘planning terror attack’

Palestinian factions in Cairo for reconciliation talks

Turkish opposition daily web editor sentenced to 3 years in jail