Support The Moscow Times!

Libya Arrests 2 Russians Accused of Trying to Influence Vote

Zuma / TASS

Libyan security forces arrested two Russian nationals accused of trying to influence upcoming elections in the North African oil-exporter, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg.

The letter from state prosecutors for the internationally recognized government in Tripoli said the Russians had been involved in “securing a meeting” with Saif al-Islam al-Qaddafi, the fugitive son of the ousted Libyan dictator and a potential candidate in elections who has the backing of some officials in Moscow.

Russian officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Libya had planned to hold elections this year as part of a UN-sponsored roadmap that has been upended by an assault on the capital led by eastern commander Khalifa Haftar.

Laptops and memory sticks found with the suspects showed that they worked for a company that “specializes in influencing elections that are to be held in several African states” including Libya, the letter, stamped by the attorney general’s office, stated. Two Libyan government officials with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed the authenticity of the letter.

A third Russian national had left the country before security services raided their residence, it said. The letter, dated July 3, does not mention when and where the arrests took place but one of the officials said the men were detained in Tripoli in May.

Saif al-Islam, one-time Libyan heir apparent, was put on trial and then freed by the rebels who toppled and killed his father in 2011. He has been in hiding ever since and his whereabouts are unknown. An aide did not immediately respond to a call for comment.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.