By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 31 March 2014:
The three Libyans who have been accused of forcing the captain and crew of the Morning . . .[restrict]Glory to sail away from Libya at gunpoint with a shipment of illicitly-obtained oil are to be released from prison.
The Attorney General Abdulqader Radwan yesterday announced that the three federalists who were involved in the illegal oil sale from Sidra port would be released. They were caught on the vessel off the coast of Cyprus by the US military and returned, with the tanker’s crew.
A source close to the office of the Attorney General told the Libya Herald that the main reason for the decision was because of demands made by some elders from Ajdabiya in particular and from the eastern cities in general. A number of members of the General National Congress (GNC) had also put pressure on Radwan, the source said, to help the country move towards a peaceful solution to end the oil crisis.
The move is believed to be part of ongoing negotiations between the government and Ibrahim Jadhran who is leading the blockades at three eastern oil ports.
However, the decision has not been well-received by all. Deputy Minister of Defence, Khaled Al-Shierif, expressed his anger in a post on his Facebook page.
“The three armed people who were being brought to justice have been released even before our men’s feet have dried from sea water” Shierif said. “I do not know why our men went on the back of boats with their simple weapons battling waves and risking their lives to try and prevent the tanker from escaping.”
He added that there seemed to be a higher power at work than justice, that was not fully understood.
The multi-national crew of the Morning Glory are yet to be released. The source said that the procedures to deport the captain and crew from the vessel were ongoing, with co-operation wit related embassies.
However, one diplomat said that the embassies were being kept in the dark. “We don’t know what’s happening. We are trying to find out,” he said. [/restrict]