Tripoli, 1 December 2012:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called on all citizens abroad to refrain from attacking Libyan embassies, warning that those who do so will face criminal prosecution.
In a statement issued on Friday, the ministry said that such incidents bring Libya’s international reputation into disrepute, embarrass host countries and compromise the principles of the 17 February revolution, which are based on respect for the rule of law.
The statement comes amidst ongoing protests by Libyan students in Malaysia over the withdrawal of their scholarships half way through their PhD programmes. The students have been peacefully protesting the decision for several days, with some even going as far as to stage a hunger strike leading to their admission to hospital.
Significantly, the students have also occupied part of the Libyan embassy’s premises in Kuala Lumpur to demand their grievances be addressed. Libya’s ambassador to Malaysia, Abu Bakr Al-Mansouri, has requested the Malaysian police to arrest the students and begin deportation proceedings, claiming this was on the direct orders of the Foreign Ministry.
Subsequently, however, Deputy Prime Minister Awad Al-Barrasi has become directly involved in the case, and has told the students that neither the prime minister nor his government ever ordered their arrest and deportation, raising questions as to whether the ambassador has overstepped his remit.