By Michel Cousins.
Tripoli, 14 November:
Three Qataris were released yesterday, Tuesday, having been arrested in Gharian on Sunday amid claims that they had . . .[restrict]entered the country illegally and had sophisticated communications equipment with them without permission.
Also arrested were an Egyptian and a Libyan.
The three, Sheikh Sultan Muhammad Masoud Al-Thani, Hamad Nasser Al-Mohannadi and Hassan Abdullah Ali Al-Dosari, along with Egyptian Abdallah Mahmoud Mohamed, said they were on a hunting trip. According to the head of Gharian’s Supreme Security Committee (SSC), Abdul Fattah Mohamed Al-Ashhab, the three Qataris claimed that the equipment was needed for their hunting expedition.
However, he said that it was the same as used by the SSC for military and security purposes, was banned for civilian use and that the Qatarais, who were stopped on their way from Gharian to Jufra, did not have the necessary permission to bring it into the country. They did not have visa stamps in their passports either.
They were released following the intervention of the Qatari embassy in Tripoli and members of the General National Congress and vowed not to repeat the incident.
It is the Libyan hunting season at the moment and visitors from the Arabian Gulf have been coming to the country for several years to participate in the sport, particularly falconry. A month ago, however, the UAE advised its citizens not to travel to Libya to hunt because of the security situation in the country.
Qatar strongly backed last year’s revolution with funding and military resources. However, there have been accusations from a number of Libyan figures claiming it is interfering in Libyan affairs. [/restrict]