I had been meaning to publish a list of alleged kidnappings in March 2011 shortly before the no-fly zone was imposed by the UN. As ever they are only sourced from one side and often rely on extraordinary stories which don't quite seem to stand up to analysis. Obviously, kidnappings or alleged kidnappings (even faked kidnappings) are symptomatic of a naughty government which NATO requires to be demonised,and is grist to the mill. This post will be added to case by case. The reasons behind the kidnappings, even more so, the curious release of the journalists, photographers, dissidents never seemed to arouse comment. What is the purpose of kidnapping? The victim normally is exchanged for something or somebody, or killed.
The Sweheli family. [thanks to Petri] for this pointer
This is the same Misrata family whose member Abdul Rahman Swehli (variants : Abdulrahman, Abdurrahman, Suwehli, Sewehli,Suwehli) is founder and leader of the Union for [the] Homeland a party or alternatively a coalition of parties which , which won the most votes in Misrata in the bogus July elections in Libya. The composition of the coalition is shrouded in mystery - not to be confused with the islamist Homeland or Al-Watan party which is led by Belhaj. Over 100 candidates for 4 seats is pretty standard...what a farce. Anyway.....
My fears for family kidnapped by Gaddafi’s henchmen [Telegraph, March 5 2011]: British psychiatric doctor from Manchester,Ahmed Swehli said said his father Abdurrahman and three of his brothers Khaleel, Mohammed, and Shtewi were arrested in Tripoli last week by armed security agents.
The raids came shortly after they had had urged Libyans to join anti-regime demonstrations. [Tripoli resident Khalil Sewehli says he is preparing to protest in the capital in an attempt to bring an end to the regime of Libya's Colonel,Feb 25 2011 - like announcing it to the world Khaleel, 31, had given a telephone interview ten days ago to BBC Radio Five, saying Gaddafi should go if Libyans demanded it....During the recent unrest he [the father] became a figurehead for the Libyan rebels, regularly appearing on Al Jazeera and Western television networks to denounce his former classmate [Moammar Gaddafi].
At 1.15am [Monday Feb 28] his father telephoned to tell him that two of his sons had been arrested [Khaleel and Mohammed]...but he went back with my brother, Shtewi, and was waiting to be taken. [smart move,that] He said if he didn’t pick up the phone in the morning to fear the worse. When I called later he didn’t pick up, and I knew what had happened.”
The first report,though, whch I find was on Feb 3 2011, a day earlier in Europe.
A phone call with ABC Australia, that's what. "And now that Gaddafi's regime was coming to an end he didn't mind dying " [crazy, actually]. Even crazier:(translated: I'm a shrink and I know a mad man when I see one [Gaddafi]): "I mean I am a psychiatrist and, but it doesn't need a psychiatrist to show that at the very least Gaddafi is a psychopath because he doesn't care about whether other people are hurt or killed. I don't think he has any feelings about that whatsoever. And he may indeed be delusional and feel that the whole, you know the whole of the Libyan nation is with him. However he's a very shrewd and intelligent man at the same time. But you know, a psychopath at that." [That will be 200 guineas please]
More details are woven into another call with the (strange) station of choice,ABC Australia: Gaddafi releases kidnapped Libyan teenager but not father and brothers, March 9 (8 in Europe) - they're all in the Bab Al-Aziziya compound , of course.
ELEANOR HALL: Why do you think that Gaddafi forces did release your youngest brother?
AHMED SEWEHLI: Yeah, that's something that the family, we've been thinking about< br/>
Not very convincing.
Er, so what happened exactly? Big news story??
On March 14 HRW reported the same story.
Fast forward to March 26, when Ahmed, who works in Blackpool, tells BBC Manchester that he has not spoken to his 19-year-old brother Mohammed much since his release, as he fears the phone lines are being monitored by the Libyan authorities.
Not much??? Or not at all??
"The people who released him know where he lives, they know where my mum lives, they could decide to take him again whenever they want to, "
Well, quietly slipped into an interview with ABC's Eleanor Hall again on May 24, this time about horrific rapes (alleged) in Libya, that "[my brother] has told me of some of the things that happened to him. He was beaten up, because he was kidnapped before my father, he was interrogated, asked where his father was. He was getting very little water, he was blindfolded, of course he was never charged."Now, what I can tell you is that approximately two weeks ago that third brother, along with the rest of my family, have actually come to the UK." [Not the father & 2 brothers I gather]
do you know actually where they are ?
Radio 5 Live is a funny old very British radio station to ring up for a chat. And Ahmed's own article in the Guardian ,It's late, but the UN resolution gives hope to Libyans, March 18 (thank's Guardian, thanks NATO) points to a purpose in the kidnapping story.
It seems the release was quietly slipped into an Al-Jazeera page, captured at Democratic Underground with no further elucidation, no reasons,and subsequently removed from the Al-Jazeera website.: "freedom fighters were able to free my father, Dr Abdurrahman Sewehli (PhD in engineeering, UK) and my 2 brothers from their 3 months of captivity in Tripoli under Gaddafi's forces." So the mystery remains
Dr Ahmed Sewehli was in Misrata throughout July and early August 2011
Nothing further until...his father starts blogging in September 2011, viz an interview with Al-Alamat online, Sept 14 By then the father was well on the way to having his own political party
Is the man in this video,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACg9LcvjI7c, calling himself Mohamed Shtewi the same as Shtewi Sewehli, investigating a yard similar to Yarmouk where he asserts he was tortured?
Three BBC journalists (well, one actually,plus one photographer and one security/special services man) arrested and kidnapped. Feras Kilani, Goktay Koraltan and Chris Cobb-Smith, at a checkpoint 6 miles south of Zawiyah, afternoon of 7 March 2011.
This has been discussed elsewhere
CNN, 9 March (release) http://articles.cnn.com/2011-03-09/world/libya.bbc.journalists_1_beatings-execution-journalists?_s=PM:WORLD
"The former Barton Peveril student was captured at a checkpoint with his colleagues, Feras Killani, a Palastinian reporter with a Syrian passport and Goktay Koraltan, a Turkish cameraman and their local driver.
But Chris had managed to hide his phone and was able to get a call out to the BBC saying he and his colleague were in trouble and needed help.
He said: "We were lined up against the wall. I was the last in line - facing the wall. I looked and I saw a plain-clothes guy with a small sub-machine gun. He put it to everyone's neck. I saw him and he screamed at me "Then he walked up to me, put the gun to my neck and pulled the trigger, twice. The bullets whisked past my ear. The soldiers just laughed. Now it just feels like a bad dream."
The trio were held for 21 hours, moved to various locations, before they were released and they have since left Libya. "
No reason given for the release.
Guardian with video http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/09/bbc-staff-arrest-torture-libya
A very detailed narrative which points to the Khamis compound apart from a steel cage in the centre which is significantly NOT described as a mobile blue prison wagon.
"It also offers the first real eyewitness depiction of conditions endured by those arrested by the regime, including those whose only crime has been to talk to foreign journalists [timely] ...."I thought it was a good sign we were going to a legitimate barracks,"[Cobb-Smith] er, why? Vivid descriptions of beatings are offered by Cobb-Smith and Kilani
Austrian report with photo. Released the next day, around lunchtime, Tuesday March 8: http://www.freemedia.at/home/singleview/article/bbc-team-detained-and-tortured-by-gaddafis-forces.html
BBC report: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12695134
BBC Transcript of interview: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12695138
BBC with additional quote by Koraltan and podcast interview with Cobb-Smithhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12695077
As the Christian Science Monitor peceptively noted, the BBC interview was the only one which all three made. Smart. Keep the narrative short and narrow.
"...it was suddenly all over. They took us to their rest room. It was a charm offensive, packets of cigarettes, tea, coffee, offers of food."[Cobb-Smith] A curious ending. Wyre Davies of the BBC was also in Tripoli at the time and also relayed the story via the BBC
Ghaith Abdul-Ahad and Andrei Netto
Guardian reporter, Iraq born Ghaith Abdul-Ahad and a Brazillian reporter Andrei Netto who was travelling with him, disappeared from Zawiyah in late February 2011. .
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