Libya lawyer ‘could be released today’

Detained in Libya… Melinda Taylor with husband, Geoffrey Roberts, and daughter, Yasmina.Australia lawyer Melinda Taylor could be released today, according to the International Criminal Court.
Nanjing Night Net

Ms Taylor, a lawyer with the ICC, has been detained in the Libyan city of Zintan since June 7 with three colleagues, following allegations that they had threatened Libya’s national security.

ICC spokesman Fadi el-Abdallah told Agence France-Presse yesterday that ICC president Song Sang-hyun was travelling to Libya for the group’s release.

“The ICC president is going to Libya tomorrow and the release of the four ICC staff members is expected tomorrow,” Mr Abdallah said.

Last week, after a visit by Australia’s ambassador-designate to Libya, David Ritchie, Ms Taylor was allowed to speak to her husband and two-year-old daughter for the first time since her detention.

After the phone call, Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr said he hoped there was not “too much longer to wait” for Ms Taylor’s release. Senator Carr said the call indicated that authorities in Zintan were recognising the work of the central government in Tripoli.

“We find it encouraging, but it stops short of being the news that we want and that her family wants, which is her release,” he said.

The news has not always been positive for Ms Taylor since she was detained earlier this month.

At times, Senator Carr has been hopeful of an early release for the Australian lawyer, but earlier this month, the Guardian newspaper reported that Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib has said Ms Taylor was guilty of actions that “compromised national security” and would not be released from detention.

Ms Taylor is accused of exchanging papers with Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, whom she is representing. The papers allegedly included a coded message from his former right hand man in the days of his father’s regime, Mohammed Ismail.

With agencies

Follow the National Times on Twitter: @NationalTimesAU

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