Diplomat visits arrested Frenchmen in Libya

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A French diplomat has met with four Frenchmen who were arrested in the Libyan rebel city of Benghazi and accused of spying for strongman Moamer Kadhafi, the French government said on Tuesday.

Paris's envoy, Antoine Sivan, approached the National Transitional Council (NTC), the rebels' leadership, and was allowed to meet the four on Saturday, French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told reporters.

A fifth Frenchman, ex-paratrooper Pierre Marziali, was shot dead when the rebels who control Benghazi arrested the five on Friday.

Marziali was the founder of a private security firm that had opened an office in Benghazi and his four companions were also working for the firm.

The rebels said the five were not private security contractors but were in Benghazi to sabotage the anti-Kadhafi revolution.

The NTC "authorities are investigating to establish the circumstances of what happened," Valero said. "They promised our ambassador they will keep us informed of the results."

© 2011 AFP

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