Saturday, 6 July, 2019 - 21:06

Two Russians were detained in Tripoli for trying to influence the upcoming elections, said the head of the criminal investigation department at the Attorney General of Libya, al-Sadyk al-Sur.

Earlier, the head of the Foundation for the Protection of National Values, Alexander Malkevich, reported on the detention of his employees in Libya, including sociologist Maxim Shugaley. According to Malkevich, the staff of the research group was engaged exclusively in sociological surveys, studying the humanitarian, cultural and political situation in the country. He added that the fund’s employees were detained back in May, “however, information about this appeared in the media only on July 5”.

“Two Russians and three Libyans were detained for trying to influence the upcoming elections in the country. I don’t remember the names now, the name of one of the detainees, Shugaley,” al-Sur said by telephone.

He noted that his department, together with the intelligence agency of the Libyan National Consent (PNC) government in Tripoli, is "continuing to investigate the case." He said that "the Russians were in contact with various Libyan parties, including twice personally met with Safe Al-Islam Gaddafi," the son of the former head of the Libyan Jamahiriya.

The UN proposed to hold a general election in Libya in the spring of 2019, the results of which should lead to the formation of legitimate and universally recognized authorities.

After the overthrow and murder of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya virtually ceased to function as a single state. Now dual power reigns in the country. The parliament elected by the people, which cooperates with Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan national army, sits in the east, and in the west, Tripoli, is ruled by the government of national accord, led by Fayez Sarraj, supported by the UN and the European Union. The authorities of the eastern part of the country act independently of Tripoli
The agency Bloomberg, citing the documents at its disposal, reported earlier on Friday that members of the Libyan security authorities arrested two Russian citizens accused of trying to influence the upcoming elections in the country.

A letter from the prosecutor’s office, controlled by the Tripoli-based government, said the Russians were trying to get a meeting with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and a potential presidential candidate in Libya.

Data on computers and flash cards found in those arrested indicate that they worked for a company specializing in influencing elections in some African countries, the agency reports citing a letter from the prosecutor's office.

Another Russian, who lived with two arrested citizens, left Libya before the Libyan secret services came to them. The letter from the prosecutor’s office does not say exactly when the men were arrested, but the agency’s sources report that they were detained in Tripoli in May.