GNA agrees to free Russian spies tied to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi
Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) has agreed, after a deal with Moscow, to release two Russian alleged spies arrested last year in Libya for working on behalf of Saif al-Islam, son of former leader Muammar Gaddafi, Bloomberg reports.
Maxim Shugaley and Samir Seifan, both Russian citizens, have been in custody since May last year and charged for espionage.
The Russians who claimed they were researchers, are accused of providing help to engineer Saif’s rise to power through eventual elections with Moscow’s backing.
Russia, present in Libya where it backs GNA’s rival government, is pushing for Saif’s return to politics and eventually to power as part of efforts to reconstruct the North African country now in shambles following the NATO-backed revolution against Gaddafi in 2011.
The GNA and Russia, according to Bloomberg, reached a deal last week, but the details have not been made public. The Russian captives, yet to stand trial, could be sent home “within days”, a Libyan source who asked not to be named said.