Jordan FM denies prisoner swap with Libya

AMMAN – The Jordanian ambassador to Libya was not freed on Tuesday in exchange for the release by Jordan of a Libyan prisoner, Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh announced on Tuesday.

Judeh said that Mohamed al-Darsi – a Libyan serving a life sentence in Jordan – had been extradited to Libya to finish his jail term there.

He added, however, that al-Darsi's extradition was not linked to Tuesday's release of Jordanian Ambassador Fawaz al-Aitan.

"Our communication was with the Libyan authorities only," Judeh told reporters Tuesday. "We are not aware of the nature of Tripoli's communications with the abductors."

Contradicting Judeh's assertions, however, al-Darsi's brother said earlier Tuesday that al-Darsi had arrived in Libya a free man on Tuesday, adding that his release had been a condition for al-Aitan's freedom.

Al-Aitan arrived in Amman after having been released earlier Tuesday.

"My brother's release was the result of pressure exerted by [al-Aitan's] kidnapping," al-Darsi told Anadolu Agency.

Al-Darsi was sentenced to life in prison in Jordan for an attempt to bomb Amman's Queen Alia International Airport in 2007.

Al-Aitan was abducted in mid-April by unidentified gunmen in Libyan capital Tripoli.

Some Jordanian officials had linked the abduction to an earlier announcement by Jordanian authorities that several Libyan "extremists" had been arrested in the Hashemite Kingdom.

Al-Aitan's abduction was only the latest in a string of attacks targeting foreign diplomats in Libya, which has suffered chronic instability since the overthrow and murder of strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

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