Kidnapped Indian IT professional freed in Libya

Regi_2922941fRegi Joseph

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced the release on Twitter and thanked the Indian ambassador for securing it.

The Ministry of External Affairs said on Wednesday that Regi Joseph, a Kerala resident who had been kidnapped in Libya in March, has been released in Tripoli.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced the release on Twitter and thanked the Indian ambassador for securing it.

“Indian Embassy in Libya has secured the release of Regi Joseph — an Indian national from Kerala. He was abducted in March this year,” Ms. Swaraj tweeted from her personal Twitter handle.

“This has been possible with the efforts of Mr Azar A.H. Khan, our Ambassador in Libya,” she said.

Mr. Joseph, an employee of Al Diwan Company entrusted with implementing the national citizen database project for the Civil Registry Authority, was kidnapped from his worksite at Souk al Jumaa, near the Libyan capital on March 31. However, speaking to The Hindu from Libya, Mr. Joseph said he had been detained by one of the militias working for the competing governments of Libya. It was learnt initially that the armed forces controlling the intelligence service of one of the two rival governments had arrested him. The conflicting version of events can be explained by the fact that there is no central authority in Libya at present.

“Initially, they charged me with the case of a missing programmer, and then they put the blame on me for hacking the system and later damaging the computer network,” he said.

The investigations into the case took three months to complete.

“They found that I was innocent as I was providing only hardware support. Four times I was produced in court. Once I was able to meet my wife. I came to know Indian Embassy officials were present whenever they brought me to court,” he said.

Mr. Joseph said he was kept at a relatively safe place in the conflict-ravaged country. “They did not harm me. Embassy officials had ensured that I was safe at the camp. Now I will have to get back my passport and other documents. This may take a week. I will return with family at the earliest,” he said.

His wife, Shinuja, is working as a nurse in Tripoli. Their three children also live with them.

“I am happy that the militia has finally released him. We were expecting the release before Ramzan,” said Mr. Joseph’s brother Jojo Joseph, who resides with his father at Koorachaundu in Kozhikode district.

The former Indian Ambassador to Libya, Anil Trigunayat, who handled evacuation of Indians and kidnapping cases between 2012 and 2014, said the case of Mr. Joseph was difficult as he was located in Zawiya.

“Zawiya is the centre of a lot of militant activities which threaten the Indians who continue to stay there despite the advisory to leave,” Mr. Trigunayat said. “Credit for the release in such a difficult situation should also be given to the officials who have been running the embassy despite the threat of violence.”

Pin It

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>