Israeli freed from Libyan prison


JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli who had been held in a Libyan prison for five months was freed.

Rafael Haddad, 34, arrived in Israel Monday afternoon following secret negotiations between Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Libyan authorities.

Haddad, who holds dual Israeli and Tunisian citizenship and was traveling on his Tunisian passport, reportedly was arrested while taking photographs of a building that once belonged to the Jewish community for the Or Shalom Center, an organization seeking to preserve Libyan Jewish history. He was accused of spying.

Italy’s intelligence agency and American Jewish groups reportedly assisted in the negotiations. But reportedly it was Lieberman’s use of private contacts close to the Libyan regime, including Austrian-Jewish businessman Martin Schlaff, that brokered the deal.

Israel allowed the cargo of a Libyan aid ship into the Gaza Strip, and allowed Libya to build 20 prefabricated housing units inside Gaza, in exchange for Haddad’s release, according to several reports.

The case had been under a gag order in Israel since Haddad’s arrest in March.

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