Monday, November 8, 2010

Libya Arrests Journalists, Expels US Diplomat

Libya has arrested 10 journalists critical of the government and ordered a US diplomat to leave the country in 24 hours.

The Saturday arrests of 10 journalists from Libya Press, known as Oea in Libya, were made for their criticism of Libyan leadership, union head Salma al-Shaab told The Associated Press.

Libya Press is part of the al-Ghad media group belonging to Seif al-Islam Khadafi, the reformist son of Moammar Khadafi who is a key figure in normalizing Libya’s relations with the United States. He also has been a vocal critic of Libyan politics, actively promoting the adoption of a constitution and being very combative with the old political guard.

The paper recently published articles saying “there is no state in Libya” and calling for a “final assault” on the government for failing to tackle corruption, reports Reuters.

Then on Sunday, Libyan officials gave the Political Affairs Secretary at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli 24 hours to leave the country for visiting the city of Ifrane, 130 km (80 miles) south-west of the capital, Reuters reports.

The visit was “considered by the Libyan authorities to be contrary to the rules and norms of diplomacy,” Reuters quotes the online edition of Oea.

It is not known if the two weekend events are related.

Libyan officials would not give comment on either incident. American officials declined to comment on the expelling of the American diplomat.


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