By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 24 December:
The boss of Maltese air services company Medavia and a colleague, have been questioned for six days, following their arrest last Tuesday in the VIP lounge of Tripoli Airport,, as they prepared to fly to Malta.
According to the Times of Malta, Abdulrazagh Zmirli, the managing director of the Mediterranean Aviation Company, and the firm’s technical general manager, Abdalla Dekna were detained and taken to Zawia, on the suspicion that they helped the Qaddafi government during the revolution.
There has been some shock in Malta at Zmirli’s arrest. Indeed, last May, the executive was ranked “Leader of the Year” in the Malta-based World Airnews’ aviation awards. The citation said that Zmirli had been a charismatic leader at a time when the company was struggling during the revolution. Medavia sent flights to evacuate employees of multinational companies and Zmirli was reportedly associated with efforts to send aid to the rebels.
Medavia, which began operations in 1979, is a Libyan-Maltese joint venture with the Libya Foreign Investment Company (LAFICO) as a partner. The business is based in Luqa in Malta and operates eight turboprop aircraft, on both oil field service charters and VIP flights.
According to an online profile, Zmirli graduated in engineering from Manchester University and then joined LAFICO before leaving to run Medavia. He has also been a director of the Corinithia Hotels International, another joint venture with LAFICO, which itself, is part of the Libyan Investment Authority
Joe Formosa, Medavia’s chief financial officer told the Times of Malta: “We are doing everything within our power to have both men released as soon as possible, while of course respecting the course of law in Libya”. The paper also reported that a spokesman had said that the Maltese government was aware of the arrest of Zmirli and Dekna, and was monitoring the situation.