NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) -- The United Nations (UN) Security Council on Friday urged Libyan authorities to work towards the immediate release of four detained staff members of the International Criminal Court (ICC), who face preventive detention of up to 45 days.
The staff members were detained on June 7 when they traveled to the city of Zintan, where Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the former Libyan leader, is being held. Saif Al-Islam, who was captured in November 2011 following a months-long civil war, has been indicted by the UN-backed court for crimes against humanity. Libyan authorities have so far refused to hand over Saif Al-Islam to face trial in the Netherlands, the seat of the ICC.
In a statement, the 15 members of the UN Security Council urged Libyan authorities at all levels to work towards the immediate release of the ICC staff members. It added that it is the legal obligation of Libya under UN Security Council resolution 1970, which referred the situation in Libya to the ICC last year, to cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court.
Among those detained is 36-year-old Australian ICC lawyer Melinda Taylor who has been appointed to represent Saif Al-Islam. Members of the brigade holding him accused Taylor of attempting to pass on 'dangerous documents' to him, including a letter from a former confidante of his who is now on the run in Egypt. Reporters were shown the documents but have not been allowed to read them.
Earlier this week, judicial officials said it had been decided to put the ICC staff members in preventive detention for 45 days while an investigation is being carried out. The other staff members have been identified as 60-year-old Alexander Khodakov from Russia, 48-year-old Esteban Peralta Losilla from Spain, and Helene Assaf (born in 1978) from Lebanon.
Saif Al-Islam's father, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, was captured on October 20, 2011, by fighters supporting Libya's transitional government as he tried to flee his hometown Sirte. He was eventually shot dead but it remains unclear whether he was executed by his captors or if he was killed during fighting between pro-Gaddafi and anti-Gaddafi forces.
It is believed more than 25,000 people have been killed during last year's civil war.
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