11:18 21.11.2012

Russian Foreign Ministry denies handing Russians over to Libyan rebels

3 min read

The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed surprise about the recent publications stating that the Russian Embassy in Libya handed Russian citizens Alexander Shadrov and Vladimir Dolgov over to the Libyan rebels.

"The Russian Foreign Ministry continues to take active action to resolve the problem of Russian citizens Alexander Shadrov and Vladimir Dolgov, who were convicted in Libya. The necessary pressure is being continually put on the Libyan state structures, which are in charge of this issue, to ensure that the Russian citizens return to their homeland as soon as possible," Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry's special representative on human rights, democracy, and supremacy of law, told Interfax on Wednesday.

"The statements saying that the Russian Embassy in Tripoli allegedly handed Alexander Shadrov and Vladimir Dolgov over to the Libyans are surprising to say the least," the diplomat said.

Izvestiya earlier reported that the Russian Embassy in Libya "in effect handed oil workers Alexander Shadrov and Vladimir Dolgov over to the Libyan rebels."

The newspaper made that conclusion from a statement made by Taisiya Shilova, the wife of one of the Russians, at a roundtable meeting. "I am interested to know how it happened that my husband was handed over to the Libyans from the embassy, where he was located," Izvestiya quoted Shilova as saying.

In the meantime, Konstantin Dolgov said Alexander Shadrov and Vladimir Dolgov were detained in Tripoli together with 25 citizens of Ukraine and Belarus by members of the rebel battalion Kakaa on August 27, 2011. "We are talking about the period when military action still continued in the Libyan capital. The embassies of the U.S. and the EU countries were closed for safety reasons," the diplomat said.

"Nevertheless, as soon as the Russian Embassy in Libya received information on the Russian citizens' arrest, embassy officials went to the said unit to clarify the situation with the Russians," he said.

"As a result of negotiations with representatives of the battalion, which lasted several days," Vladimir Dolgov, Alexander Shadrov and his son and daughter-in-law (citizens of Ukraine) were transferred to the Russian Embassy on September 3, 2011, Konstantin Dolgov said. "The leaders of the group set a categorical condition that the four people would come to the location of the group for questionings at the first demand. The embassy provided an appropriate guarantee letter to the commander of the military unit at his demand," Konstantin Dolgov said.

On September 6, 2011, "the citizens of Russia and Ukraine were taken to the battalion for investigative actions in accordance with the said agreement."

"After the interrogation was over, the Libyans suddenly refused to return them to the embassy, saying there are grounds to keep the citizens in custody due to newly discovered facts indicating the Russians' possible involvement in the maintenance and modernization of military equipment for forces loyal to Gaddafi," Konstantin Dolgov said.

"The intense negotiations with the command of the battalion that followed did not yield any results and the authorities capable of assisting in the solution of the problem just didn't exist in Libya at that moment," he said.

"Nevertheless, the efforts to find a way out of this situation have never stopped. We are persistently raising the question of the Russians' release with the Libyan authorities," the diplomat said.

Konstantin Dolgov believes that "the use, including in the mass media, of information on the development of the situation with the Russians detained in Libya that is distorted and taken out of the context may seriously complicate the steps taken in this direction and worsen the situation of the Russian citizens."