The family of a Swiss man held in Libya for two years spoke of their joy yesterday at his return home hours after Tripoli and Bern signed an agreement to end their bitter dispute over the arrest of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s son.
Max Goeldi arrived in Zurich aboard a Spanish military plane along with Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, who had flown to Libya on Sunday with her Spanish counterpart Miguel Angel Moratinos to secure the businessman’s release.
“Our joy is indescribable now that the long waiting, worrying and hoping has come to an end,” Goeldi’s family said in a statement.
Switzerland paid US$1.5 million for mistreating Hannibal Qaddafi during his arrest in Geneva in 2008 and apologized for the publication of mugshots of the Libyan leader’s son that led Tripoli to escalate its demands on the Alpine nation.
Daniel Graf, a spokesman for Amnesty International, said he was “very relieved” by the release. The group had campaigned for the release of Goeldi and fellow Swiss Rachid Hamdani, describing their prosecution by Libya as politically motivated.
Hamdani was acquitted in February and allowed to leave Libya, while Goeldi was sentenced to four months in prison.