BEIRUT

Middle East

Libya ratifies Jordan accord that could free ambassador

A member of security stands outside the Jordanian embassy in the Libyan capital after gunmen traveling in two cars on April 15, 2014 abducted the Jordanian ambassador to Tripoli. AFP/MAHMUD TURKIA

TRIPOLI: Libya on Thursday ratified an extradition agreement with Jordan that could pave the way for the release of Jordan's kidnapped ambassador in exchange for a jihadist held by Amman.

Ambassador Fawaz Aitan was kidnapped three weeks ago in Tripoli by masked gunmen as he was being driven to work. They shot at his car and wounded his driver.

No one claimed responsibility for the abduction but Libyan sources later said the kidnappers were demanding the release of a Libyan jihadist jailed in Jordan for more than seven years.

Mohammed Saeed al-Darsi was tried and convicted in 2007 on charges of involvement in planning an attack on Jordan's international airport.

The Libyan government said on its website that the cabinet has ratified an accord between the justice ministries of Jordan and Libya to extradite prisoners.

It did not elaborate.

Diplomats in Tripoli say militias which fought to topple the Moamer Kadhafi regime in a 2011 uprising often carry out kidnappings to blackmail other countries into releasing Libyans held abroad.

Two Tunisians, a diplomat and an embassy colleague, have also been abducted in Libya, and Tunis said their kidnappers are demanding the release of Libyans jailed in Tunisia on terrorism charges.

 

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