Alborz Habibi
Last updated: 31 August, 2012

Abducted Iranians in Libya phone their families

Employees of Iran’s Red Crescent who have been kidnapped in Libya held phone talks with their families on Friday morning, Mehr news agency quoted Iran’s foreign minister as saying. 

Family members of the kidnapped workers also joined a meeting with the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Libyan foreign minister on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran. They received assurance from the Libyan top diplomat that the abductees are in good health.

The seven members of Iran’s Red Crescent were kidnapped by armed groups in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi earlier this month, according to a statement by Libyan Red Crescent. The Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) members were invited to the country by their Libyan counterparts to discuss co-operation in the fields of humanitarian assistance.

Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi said the abducted workers will be released soon but didn’t mention how the phone contact was made, according to Mehr. Iran’s government has urged Libya to secure the release of its nationals, vowing to pursue the case.

On August 1, AFP news agency quoted a security official as saying members of the brigade holding the Iranians are questioning them to determine whether their activities and intentions were aimed to spread the doctrine of Shiite Islam.

Amnesty International has also called for the ‘immediate and unconditional’ release of the abducted Iranians.

“The seven Iranian Red Crescent members must be allowed to go free. In the meantime, the armed militiamen holding them must immediately grant them contact with the outside world and ensure their safety,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.