Moscow Asks UN to Exert more Pressure on GNA to Release Russian Detainees in Libya


Alexander Malkevich, Chairman of the Russian Foundation for National Values Protection, called on the United Nations to pressure the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) into releasing the Russian researchers held in a Tripoli prison.

He sent a letter to the UN Special Envoy to Libya, Stephanie Williams, asking her to intensify all efforts at the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) and consider the issue of the release of Russian citizens as a condition for continuing the political dialogue in Libya.

Malkevich said in his letter to Williams that he sent this message in conjunction with the launch of the LPDF in Tunisia. He indicated that some of the participants in the Tunis dialogue are related to the elements that detain the Russians.

Malkevich said that the Russian sociologists Maxim Shogali and Samer Seifan were kidnapped in Tripoli and are still under arrest by elements affiliated to the GNA’s Ministry of Interior.

Last month, Malkevich stated that the Russian sociologist Maxim Shogali and translator Samer Seifan were transferred from a local prison under the control of the GNA to a Turkish military base at Mitiga airport. The two researchers were arrested in the Martyrs Square by members of the Al-Rada Brigade. This occurred as they were interviewing citizens on their views of the government, and the situation in Libya. They were sent to Mitiga Prison in May 2019. One year later, they are yet to be charged for any crime.

Russia has strongly criticised the Turkish presence in Libya, and Ankara’s decision to support the GNA. This has led some observers to speculate that the continued detention of Russian nationals is a covert attempt to pressure Moscow to change its policy towards Libya.