An “ecstatic” Janelle Taylor heard her daughter, human rights lawyer Melinda Taylor, say “I love you” this morning as she was freed after spending more than three weeks jailed in Libya.
Although unable to speak about her experience, the lawyer was able to reassure her Brisbane-based mother that she was fine in what Mrs Taylor described as an “emotional” phone call.
Mrs Taylor said she spoke to her daughter in the early hours of this morning after the Libyans handed her over to Australian ambassador David Ritchie.
And Mrs Taylor was chilling a bottle of champagne to celebrate when she sees her daughter’s face on Skype later today.
Ms Taylor, has been held with three International Criminal Court colleagues since she travelled to Zintan, southwest of Tripoli, on June 7 to help prepare the legal defence of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam.
“She didn’t tell me anything about her experience in the jail because she was in the convoy and the phone call was monitored so the only thing she said was she loved us and looked forward to speaking to us and she’s excited to go home,” Mrs Taylor said.
Mrs Taylor has been in constant contact with her daughter’s husband Geoff Roberts over the past few weeks and has arranged to talk to her daughter on Skype about midday when Mrs Taylor and her husband John will have a proper celebration.
“We’ve got a bottle of champagne here that our other daughters brought over two weeks ago and the whole time Melinda has been in there we said ‘we have to do something to support Melinda so we went off alcohol’,” she said.
“So the bottle of champagne is now in the fridge and [Melinda’s husband] Geoff said he’d Skype us when she gets home at about midday today and that’s when we’ll drink the champagne.”
“…It will be great, I’ll be very happy to see her face.”
Ms Taylor has a two-year-old daughter, Yasmina, who she will be reunited within the next few hours in Hague along with her husband.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr rang Mrs Taylor in the early hours of this morning to tell her that her daughter had been handed over by Libyan officials ending a “harrowing” few weeks for the parents.
“We are now ecstatic that she’s actually been handed over by them because we were excited when we told she was going to be released but we were ecstatic when we got the email last night to say and a phone call from Bob Carr to say the Libyans had handed her over to the ambassadors,” Mrs Taylor said.
She said Melinda did not have plans to come to Australia until December and her parents had decided it was best to wait until then to see her.
“Melinda said ‘look Mum and Dad I would love you to come over’ and we would be on the next plane but we feel maybe Melinda’s life need to go back to being normal so she can get on with her life,” she said.
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