Berlusconi: President Putin Helped Secure Release of Fishermen in Libya

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The former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, stated that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin mediated the release of the Italian fishermen who were detained in Libya.

“It was Putin with his phone calls to Libya’s Haftar who set them free. This is the truth of what happened,” Berlusconi revealed, according to the Italian newspaper ‘La Stampa’.

Last week, the authorities of eastern Libya released the 18 fishermen after more than 100 days in prison. This was “thanks to AISE (Italian External Intelligence) and to all the diplomatic corps who worked to bring them back home,” Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio stated.

On 1 September, the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) Navy arrested 18 Italian fishermen for illegally entering Libyan waters. In 2015, four young 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. The Libyan authorities had wanted to do an exchange of prisoners.