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Hannibal rejects mugshot payout, wants tribunal

Hannibal Gaddafi has said he no longer wants compensation for police mugshots printed by a Swiss newspaper, saying instead an international tribunal must hear his case.

This content was published on March 19, 2010 - 09:51

The comments are a turnaround by the Libyan leader’s son, and came on the first day of a hearing in Geneva into the publication of photos taken after his arrest in the city in 2008. Hannibal and his wife Aline had been held for two days for allegedly abusing their staff.

The hearing followed a civil complaint by Hannibal against the Tribune de Genève and the canton of Geneva, in which he was claiming SFr100,000 ($95,000). The canton has said it is ready to pay compensation.

“I am not looking for financial compensation, that would not be justice for me. We are calling for an international tribunal … which will prove my innocence,” he said, adding that he thought Switzerland feared such arbitration because it would “provoke a big scandal”.

Steps were previously taken towards the creation of an international arbitration tribunal to review the arrest, with Switzerland and Libya appointing representatives but the two sides failing to jointly appoint a third judge within a 60-day deadline.

The tribunal was mentioned in an agreement signed by the two countries that aimed at normalising relations, but which was later suspended.

Switzerland and Libya have been at loggerheads ever since the arrest. Libya responded by withdrawing assets from Swiss banks, shutting down businesses in the country and arresting two Swiss businessmen, one of whom is in jail for visa violations.

In a recent move by Bern, Switzerland effectively blocked pan-European travel for top Libyans when it drew up a list of visa restrictions on them. Since Switzerland is a member of Europe’s Schengen Zone, the travel limitations apply to all Schengen countries.

Libya responded in kind by suspending visas to citizens of these nations.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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