Al-Agouri: We are Working to Release Detained Footballers


The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Libyan Parliament, Youssef Al-Agouri held a virtual meeting with human rights activist and advisor to the International Crisis Group, Claudia Gazzini.

Gazzini is following up on the conditions of a number of Libyan youths imprisoned in Italy. This is related to the deaths of a number of migrants.

In August 2015, four Libyans in Sicily were sentenced by the magistrates of Catania to 30 years in prison. They were accused of organising a crossing from Libya, in which 49 migrants died.

In September 2020, the Libyan Navy arrested 18 Italian fishermen for illegally entering Libyan waters. They asked Italy for a prisoners’ exchange. Rome rejected the demand, and said it refused to be “blackmailed”. After almost two months, the Italian fishermen were released.

Gazzini briefed Al-Agouri on the health, psychological, and legal conditions of the detained Libyans. As well as possible ways to reduce their sentences.

The MP stressed that the Foreign Affairs Committee is ready to make all efforts to release the Libyan footballers.

“The Libyan athletes believed that they would find a better future in Europe. Instead, they found themselves serving a long sentence in the prisons of a foreign country far from their families and homeland,” Al-Agouri said.

In turn, Gazzini confirmed that she and a team of lawyers are seeking to appeal the case, and obtain new testimonies from the migrants who were on the capsized boat.

“This is not an easy task because it requires searching for immigrants on that trip, and persuading them to cooperate and give their testimonies,” she explained.