Egypt seeks prisoner swap with Libya: Sources

Reuters , Wednesday 20 Mar 2013

Judicial sources claim prisoner swap deal in the pipeline for four members of Muammar Gaddafi regime arrested Tuesday, in return for Egyptians detained in Libya

Ahmed Gadhaf Al-Dam who was arrested in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday (Photo: Snapshot Al-Arabiya TV)

Egypt is seeking to swap four members of Muammar Gaddafi's regime arrested in Cairo with a group of Egyptians detained in Libya, two Egyptian judicial sources said on Wednesday.

A source at the Libyan justice ministry said the idea had been raised in talks on judicial cooperation between Libyan officials and the assistant Egyptian prosecutor general, Hassan Yasine, who has been on an official visit to Tripoli this week.

Among those arrested in Egypt on Tuesday was Gaddaf Alddam, one of Gaddafi's cousins. Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has called for the immediate handover of the wanted men.

The Egyptian judicial sources said the Libyans were among 36 members of the late dictator's administration whom the new Libyan government believe to be living in Egypt.

State-run Al-Ahram newspaper said Libya had asked for other measures including that Cairo stop anti-revolution Libyan TV stations from being broadcast via an Egyptian satellite.

An official from Libya's culture ministry said that letters had been sent to Egyptian satellite channels asking for this.

Egypt wants Libya to hand over a group of Egyptian Christians accused of proselytising, the Egyptian sources said.

Libya's small Christian community has expressed fears over Islamist extremism as the government struggles to impose its authority over armed groups which have refused to lay down their weapons since the 2011 war that ousted Gaddafi.

Al-Ahram said that Yasine had discussed the results of a Libyan inquiry into an attack on an Egyptian church in Benghazi last week. Unknown assailants set fire to the church, the second attack on the building in weeks.

Attacks against Egyptian Christians in Libya triggered protests outside the Libyan embassy in Cairo last week that resulted in a brief suspension of work there.

Two Egyptian men were killed in December by an explosion at a building belonging to a Coptic church in Dafniya, close to the western city of Misrata.

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