Movement in Libya on Korean case

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Movement in Libya on Korean case

Two South Korean civilians, detained by Libyan intelligence authorities for more than a month, have been sent to a jail in the northern African country, diplomatic sources said yesterday.

The move raises the prospect that the spying scandal - which has jeopardized the 30-year-old ties between Seoul and Tripoli, as well as Seoul’s substantial economic gain there - may be closer to be resolved.

A South Korean protestant pastor, identified by his surname Gu, was arrested in Libya in mid-June for Christian missionary activity. A South Korean farming house owner, Jeon, was arrested on suspicion of helping Gu.

The two were placed under special investigation by Libyan intelligent officials because they were suspected of being involved in espionage by a South Korean intelligent official in Libya. The embassy official was deported in June.

“Gu and Jeon called their families this morning ... and notified them that they were moved from detention under intelligence authorities to a general jail,” said the sources.

The sources said Libya appears to have cleared any suspicion of Gu and Jeon of being involved in spying.

But, they are still accused of violating the religious laws of the Muslim country; Gu will likely be deported to South Korea, the sources said.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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