Tunisia arrests UN Libya arms expert – Al Marsad

Libya, 29 March 2019 –  Tunisia has arrested one of the members of the UN Panel of Exports monitoring the arms embargo on Libya, despite him having diplomatic immunity.  It has emerged that Moncef Kartas, a Tunisian national, was arrested last Tuesday when he arrived at Tunis-Carthage Airport from Rome.  Today, Friday, the UN today said that it had called on the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to secure his release.

“We are in touch with the Tunisian authorities to ascertain the reasons for his arrest and detention as well as the conditions under which he is being held,” UN deputy spokesman for the Secretary-General, Farhan Haq, said.

The Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Tunis has also called on to the Tunisian authorities to ensure Kortas’s  safety.

It is reported that Kartas, who is said to have German nationality as well, was intercepted and detained by 12 men in civilian clothes when he arrived at the airport. It is not known if they were police officers or not.

In what is seen a related development, the Tunisian interior ministry today announced that two Tunisians were arrested on Tuesday suspected of “spying for foreign parties”. The ministry said they had been found to have data “that would compromise the safety of national security” as well as equipment that could be used for jamming and intercepting communications.

It was not disclosed if one of the two was Kartas.

In addition to his role as a UN investigator, Kortas is a researcher at the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding in Geneva.

The incident is expected to become further complicated by the fact that the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will is due to take part in the Arab League summit in Tunis this weekend.

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