Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian 'Mercenaries' Get Stiff Prison Terms

Libyan Court Jails Ukrainian, Russian, and Belarusian Citizens
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:00:55 0:00

Libyan Court Jails Ukrainian, Russian, and Belarusian Citizens

A military court run by Libya's new rulers has handed down stiff prison terms -- including a life sentence -- to a group of Ukrainian, Russian, and Belarusian men accused of working as mercenaries for former leader Muammar Qaddafi.

The sentences were given in Tripoli to 19 Ukrainians, three Belarusians, and two Russians.

One of the Russians, accused of having been the group's coordinator, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The 23 others each received 10 years.

Ukrainian and Belarusian envoys said the men would appeal.

In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry described the court decision as "unfair and unjustified." It said Russia would be working with Ukraine and Belarus for a review of the sentence.

The men were accused by Libya's new authorities of having helped renovate military equipment used during the conflict between Qaddafi's forces and NATO-backed opposition fighters last year.

The men said they came to Libya to work in the oil industry.

Based on reporting by Interfax and AFP

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.