Libya jails 24 'foreign mercenaries' who claim innocence
4 June 2012
The 24 eastern European prisoners maintain they were oil workers in Libya
A Libyan court has jailed 24 foreigners accused of being mercenaries for Muammar Gaddafi's regime during last year's conflict.
The men from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus were found guilty of repairing surface-to-air-missile batteries.
Sentences range from life imprisonment for the man identified as the group's co-ordinator, to 10 years of hard labour for the others.
The men deny the charges and insist they were just oil workers in Libya.
The judgment, the first of its kind, was handed down following several hearings in recent months.
The men were captured by rebel fighters last August in the Tripoli suburb of Girgaresh, shortly after Col Gaddafi's regime was toppled.
They were reportedly detained along with a number of Africans and Libyans also accused of being mercenaries.
'Inconsistent verdict'
Ukraine has rejected the judgment, saying the men were innocent.
Ukrainian ambassador Mykola Nahornyi told Reuters news agency they had initially come to Libya to work for an oil company, but were forced to stay on after conflict broke out to help build anti-aircraft material.
"The court's verdict was inconsistent with the laws of the countries of the citizens who were tried," he said. "We will continue our efforts to appeal and our final goal is to bring these citizens home."
The former Gaddafi regime maintained close ties with Europe's Eastern Bloc for decades.
Russia and the Ukraine were among the last nations to recognise Libya's new transitional authorities.
Top Stories
US sends reinforcements for Afghan withdrawal
Joe Biden has set the withdrawal deadline for 11 September, but it comes amid escalating violence.
3 hours ago
Germany opposes waiving Covid vaccine patents
7 hours ago
Tightrope walkers and orchestra in Colombia protests
10 hours ago
Features
Inside Myanmar's Spring Revolution
Covid: Indians abroad 'helpless and heartbroken'
Eurovision welcomes back fans despite pandemic
Why are vaccines going unused in Africa?
Quiz of the week: What's Meghan's children's book called?
Taking an invention from idea to the marketplace
The judo class that put a seven-year-old in a coma
BBC Culture: TV shows that reveal the real France
Who is young Republican rising star Elise Stefanik?
Elsewhere on the BBC
Football phrases
15 sayings from around the world
Most Read
Child shoots three at school in Idaho, police say1
Duterte apologises for taking unapproved China jab2
IBM claims next-gen chip breakthrough
3
The judo class that put a seven-year-old in a coma4
Twitter suspends account sharing Trump posts5
US sends reinforcements for Afghan withdrawal6
Germany opposes waiving Covid vaccine patents7
Mysterious brain disease in Canada baffles doctors8
Thousands enter lottery to kill Grand Canyon bison9
Holiday costs to jump this summer, warns travel boss10
BBC News Services
On your mobile
On smart speakers
Get news alerts
Contact BBC News
Home
News
Sport
Reel
Worklife
Travel
Future
Culture
Music
TV
Weather
Sounds
Terms of Use
About the BBC
Privacy Policy
Cookies
Accessibility Help
Parental Guidance
Contact the BBC
Get Personalised Newsletters
Why you can trust the BBC
Advertise with us
AdChoices / Do Not Sell My Info
© 2021 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read about our approach to external linking.
BBC HomepageSkip to contentAccessibility HelpSign inHomeNewsSportReelWorklifeTravelFutureCultureMenuSearchHomeNewsSportReelWorklifeTravelFutureCultureMusicTVWeatherSounds
MenuHomeCoronavirusVideoWorldUS & CanadaUKBusinessTechScienceStoriesEntertainment & ArtsMoreHealthIn PicturesReality CheckWorld News TVNewsbeatLong ReadsWorldAfricaAsiaAustraliaEuropeLatin AmericaMiddle East