Monday, August 09, 2010

Tunisian-Israeli tourist released from Libyan jail

Israeli citizen Rafael Haddad who was freed from Libyan prison in a secret deal
(Photo by: Daniel Bar-On)


A tourist who was photographing Libyan Jewish buildings has finally been released from a Libyan jail: his family can breathe again after five anguished months. The price? A Libyan ship gets to unload 20 pre-fabs for Gaza in the Egyptian port of El-Arish. A news blackout on the case was imposed while tortuous negotiations proceeded between Israel and the Libyans. Note that the Tunisian authorities were not involved in trying to secure Rafael Haddad's release, although Haddad also holds Tunisian nationality. (With thanks: Lily, Sylvia)

Complex and secret negotiations between Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the Libyan authorities came to a dramatic conclusion Sunday when an Israeli who disappeared in March was freed from a Libyan prison.

Rafael (Rafram) Haddad, who is active in a society that seeks to preserve Libyan Jewish history, arrived in Vienna late Sunday after five months in prison.

Haddad, who holds dual Israeli and Tunisian passports, is due in Israel on Monday.

The ordeal began in March, when Haddad arrived in Libya to photograph buildings that once belonged to the Jewish community. While photographing one of the buildings, he was arrested by the local police and subsequently handed over to the Libyan intelligence authorities, on suspicions that he was a spy.

The entire affair has been subject to heavy censorship since March.

Read article in full

AP article

Ynet News article

Jerusalem Post article

Who are you, Rafael Haddad?

Israel 'to free Palestinians' in swap

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