The three Belarusian citizens who have been imprisoned in Libya on a charge of assisting the forces of the deposed autocratic ruler Muammar al-Qadhafi are forced to do vehicle repair work, Russia's newspaper Izvestia said with reference to a Russian diplomat in the African country.
The Belarusians, as well as the Russian and Ukrainian nationals who have been convicted in the same trial are regularly taken out of prison to a vehicle repair shop. "They most likely fix cars," Ilya Samunin, head of the Russian embassy's consular department, was quoted as saying. Thus, he said, the convicts "are forced to do the same work for which they have been sentenced to prison."
Mr. Samunin also said that written permission from a prosecutor's office or a court was required for a meeting with the convicts.
When reached by BelaPAN, the Belarusian foreign ministry said that it had no updates on the situation of the imprisoned Belarusians.
The Belarusians were sentenced to 10 years in prison in a trial that ended in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on June 4.
The convicted Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian citizens — a total of 24 men - denied the charges and insisted they were in Libya to work in its oil sector.
Earlier this year, the Belarusian foreign ministry condemned the trial and described the charges as false. "The Belarusian nationals were traveling to Libya for working at civilian facilities under civilian contracts. They had not even gotten down to work and had just crossed the Libyan border [when they were arrested]," Andrey Savinykh, spokesman for the ministry, said this past April.