Italian Minister for Parliamentary Relations, Federico D’Incà, stated that Italy has not confirmed recent news leaks concerning an alleged prisoner swap with Libya.
This came in a parliamentary briefing before the Italian House of Representatives on Wednesday. D’Incà stressed that these allegations are not official in any way.
Sicilian MP Erasmo Palazzotto had written in a previous memo submitted to Parliament that “Some newspapers refer to a proposal by the authorities in eastern Libya. This is to conduct an exchange of prisoners and release four Libyans arrested in Italy.”
The Libyan citizens are serving a 30-year prison sentence according to a Catania court ruling. They have been accused of organising a sea crossing in 2015, which led to the drowning of 49 migrants.
On 29 September, the authorities in eastern Libya referred the Italian fisherman to a military prosecutor. This is according to Brigadier General Muhammad Al-Warshafani. He said that the fishermen have been transferred to the Military Prosecution and will be referred to the Military Court in Benghazi.
On Tuesday, Major General Khaled Al-Mahjoub said that the Italian fishermen who have been detained in Benghazi will appear before the Public Prosecutor and be tried according to Libyan law.
The Director of the Department of Moral Guidance in the Libyan National Army (LNA) added that the 18 Italians are in excellent health and are treated well. “We treat them with respect in accordance with international laws, and human rights,” Al-Mahjoub assured.