TRIPOLI, March 8, 2013 (AFP) -
TRIPOLI, March 8, 2013 (AFP) –
The owner and former director of a private Libyan television seized by gunmen in a raid on the channel’s headquarters were being held in an unknown location on Friday, the station said.
Unknown assailants stormed the building of Alassema TV on Thursday, abducting the owner Jomaa Al-Osta and the former executive director Nabil al-Shebani, as well as four members of staff, including journalists and anchors.
The staff members, who were all later released, said the kidnappers were angry about the editorial policies of the TV station, which is known to be close to Libya’s liberal coalition that came ahead of Islamists in last July’s legislative elections.
Mohammed al-Sharkassi, an anchor at Alassema TV who was among those released, said the assailants “identified themselves as former rebels.”
They objected, in particular, to a draft law that would exclude from political life officials under the regime of former dictator Moamer Kadhafi, who was ousted and then slain in the 2011 uprising.
The law has caused a stir among Libya’s ruling elite as it threatens to sideline senior political figures, including Mahmud Jibril, who heads the National Forces Alliances coalition and was an architect of the 2011 revolt.
Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders on Friday condemned the attack and expressed deep concern about the fate of Osta and Shebani, calling on the
Libyan authorities to “take all necessary measures to obtain their release.”
Libya’s national assembly called on Thursday evening for the interior ministry “to intervene immediately to release the prisoners.”