Foreign Affairs Committee of the State Duma on Monday sent a request to the Prosecutor General's Office, asking to check which of the Russian diplomats in Libya decided to bring to interrogations by rebels Alexander Shadrov and Vladimir Dolgov, who were later sentenced to life imprisonment and 10 years in prison, respectively "for cooperation with the regime of Muammar Gaddafi."
Russian citizens Dolgov and Shadrov were detained by Libyan rebel group Qaqaa on August 27, 2011 along with 23 citizens of Ukraine and Belarus. At the trial, rebels who were called as witnesses first called the "organizer" Shadrov "Gaddafi's military adviser," then a "sniper." As a result, the tribunal gave him the status of "a military expert who repaired tanks, and senior specialist of the group." On June 3rd he was sentenced to life imprisonment. The other accused were sentenced to very long terms as well.
Relatives of the sentenced Russians insist that the Russian Embassy actually gave their citizens to local insurgents. The Foreign Ministry disputed the statement, and even expressed bewilderment at this interpretation of the facts. As follows from the official statement from the office made on November 21, 2012, it was not the embassy that gave the Russians to rebels.
Foreign Ministry spokesman wrote on the ministry website that they were detained in Tripoli when fighting still continued in the Libyan capital and embassies of the U.S. and the European Union countries were closed for security reasons.
However, as soon as the Russian embassy in Libya was informed about the arrest of Russian citizens, the staff of the diplomatic mission traveled to the location of this formation to clarify the situation with the Russian citizens. On September 3, 2011, as a result of negotiations with representatives of the Battalion that lasted several days, they managed to gain permission to temporarily relocate Dolgov, Shadrov and his son and daughter in law (citizens of Ukraine) to the Russian Embassy.
The leadership of the group set the condition that at the first request, all four must be delivered to the place of deployment for questioning. At the request of the commander of the armed formation, he was provided with the letter of guarantee from the Embassy. On September 6, 2011, in accordance with the said agreement, the citizens of Russia and Ukraine were taken to the Battalion for investigation. Once the inquiry was over, the Libyan side suddenly (!) refused to return them to the Embassy, explaining that there were reasons for keeping these people in custody in connection with the revealed facts that point to the possible involvement of the Russians with the repair and modernization of military equipment for the forces loyal to Gaddafi. Further tough negotiations with the battalion have failed, and at the time authorities able to resolve the issue did not exist in Libya, the Ministry concluded.
The Ministry decided to provide an official explanation nearly six months after the verdict. Before that, the relatives of the sentenced citizens knocked on different doors in a vain attempt to find an explanation for the events. Only the intervention of the State Duma committee and personally MP Yan Zelinsky led to at least some clarity. But questions remain. The Russian Constitution prohibits extradition of its citizens to other countries. Article 61 of Chapter "Human rights and freedoms" explicitly states: "A citizen of the Russian Federation may not be deported from Russia or extradited to another state." Another law, Criminal Code (Article 13), specifies that this cannot happen even in the case of a Russian citizen committing a crime: "Citizens of Russia who have committed a crime in a foreign country shall not be extradited to that country." Staying in the Embassy in Tripoli, the Russians were on the territory of the Russian Federation, and sending them in for questioning was a direct violation of the law.
Likely, diplomats decided not to raise the issue of emergency evacuation of Dolgov and Shadrov at the highest level or feared for their lives. This fear is not ungrounded if you remember the sad fate of the American ambassador to Benghazi murdered by Islamists in the wake of the protests against the film "Innocent Muslims." But there is another point of view. For example, Zelinsky believes that a conspiracy might have taken place. "I sent a query (to the Prosecution Office) on Monday, with all the facts, and asked, first, to provide a legal assessment of the embassy staff in Libya, and, second, to justify the basis on which our citizens have been given to the illegitimate government. That is, I asked to check the facts and initiate criminal proceedings against those employees who gave the citizens away and who gave the command to do so. I think it was a betrayal, or a planned action, maybe something else ... The document was sent. A response can be expected in two weeks," said the deputy to Pravda.ru.
The Ministry is trying to save face and is asking not to interfere with their work on the liberation of the Russian citizens with provocative articles. Well, they have a good argument. Both Russians arrived in Libya without a visa in June of 2011 through a land border with Tunisia, where the oil and gas sector of the economy is not functioning. At the time, Russia has already released a recommendation to Russians to refrain from traveling to the affected areas. A representative of the Foreign Ministry also assured the newspaper Izvestia that the appeal against the sentence of Dolgov and Shadrov has been transferred and is now being investigated by higher military courts of the new Libyan authorities.
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