By Libya Herald team.
Tunis, 11 August 2017
The Saudi Arabian authorities are reported to have told the Libyan consulate in Jeddah that three of the four Libyans arrested in late June and early July on kidnapping and terror-related charges have been handed over to “the Libyan authorities”. It is said that they are now being held at Garnada prison near Beida.
The disclosure follows a request for information to the Saudis by the Libyan foreign ministry in Tripoli about the four.
The three are believed to be Mahmoud Ben-Rajab, Mohammed Hussein Al-Khadrawi and Abdul-Ghani Mohamed Ammar Abdullah, all from Zawia. A forth man, also from Zawia, Hussein Zahait, who initially evaded arrest by taking refuge in the consulate, is said to be being held in Saudi Arabia on charges of threatening officials there when he was arrested at Jeddah airport as he tried to leave the country.
All had been in Saudi Arabia performing umrah. Ben Rajeb and Khadrawi are said to have been arrested at the request of the Egyptian authorities on suspicion of involvement in the kidnapping of five Egyptian diplomats in Tripoli in January 2014. The other two are alleged to have had terrorist links.
According to Omar Khadrawi, brother of Mohamed Khadrawi, the family were surprised to find out last Friday that three including his brother had been handed over to the Beida authorities. He said that he was filing a complaint with the United Nations and that human rights organisations were aware of the situation.
The reported disclosure that three of the four are now in custody in Libya follows the attempt by their families to to secure their release by preventing fuel going from Zawia refinery to Tripoli. It resulted in a temporary stoppage of supplies but fears about continuing availability have led to a run on fuel in and around the capital with massive queues at petrol stations.
In response, the Presidency Council’s foreign ministry contacted the Saudi authorities for information at to the detainees’ situation.
Ben-Rajab and Al-Khadrawi are accused of being involved in the kidnapping of the five Egyptian diplomats in January 2014 in a bid to force the Egyptians to release the head of the Libyan Revolutionaries’ Operations Room at the time, Zawia’s Shaaban Masoud Hadia, also known as Abu Obaida Al-Zawi. He had been arrested in Alexandria suspected of dealings with Egyptian Islamist militants.