Swiss businessman held in Libya freed: lawyer

10th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Swiss businessman Max Goeldi, jailed in Libya nearly four months ago for visa offences, was freed from a Tripoli prison on Thursday, his lawyer Salah Zahaf told AFP.

"He was released today and is currently in a hotel in Tripoli," Zahaf said. "We are completing the administrative procedures so he can leave the country."

Goeldi was released two days earlier than expected.

Libya detained and tried Goeldi after the brief arrest in Geneva of a son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi in July 2008.

Zahaf had said that Goeldi would be freed on June 12, the day on which he would have completed his prison term.

In March, Zahaf argued that the 53 days which Goeldi had already spent in prison since his arrest should be taken into account, bringing forward the date of his release.

Police did not followed the proper procedures when Goeldi and another Swiss national, Rashid Hamdani, were arrested in the diplomatic row that erupted after the brief arrest in Geneva of Hannibal Kadhafi, Zahaf said.

Hannibal and his pregnant wife were detained by Swiss police after two of their domestic staff charged they had been mistreated by the couple at a Geneva hotel.

Goeldi and Hamdani were held for 53 days and then released, but were then barred from leaving the country.

Hamdani was finally allowed to leave Libya in February, while Goeldi, a representative of Swiss company ABB in Libya, was sentenced to four months in jail term for overstaying his visa.

© 2010 AFP

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