19:42 GMT +323 January 2019
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    Libya, Switzerland in diplomatic row over arrest of Qaddafi's son

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    GENEVA, July 23 (RIA Novosti) - Switzerland has advised its citizens to abstain from trips to Libya amid a diplomatic spat triggered by the arrest of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's youngest son, Hannibal, Swiss media reported Wednesday.

    Police were called to the five-star Hotel President Wilson on July 15 after two hotel employees, from Tunisia and Morocco, accused Hannibal Qaddafi, 32, and his expectant wife, Aline, of beating them with a belt and a coat hanger.

    Qaddafi spent two days in custody, while his pregnant wife was under police supervision in a clinic in Geneva. They were released on $490,000 bail two days later and left Geneva.

    The incident resulted in the arrests of two Swiss passport holders in Libya and the recall of Libya's diplomatic representatives to Switzerland. Swiss firms were also forced to close their Libyan branches. The Libyan embassy stopped processing visa requests from Swiss nationals.

    Libya's air carrier, Afriqiyah, was instructed to cut their flights to Switzerland to one flight per week. The same instructions were given to Swiss International Air Lines.

    Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey cut her vacation short and returned to Berne to deal with the row. In a phone conversation with her Libyan counterpart she expressed concern over the developments. Switzerland has sent a diplomatic delegation to Tripoli to provide Libyan authorities with detailed information over the arrest and to discuss the current situation.

    Hannibal, the second son of the Libyan leader, has frequently made headlines in Europe for all the wrong reasons.

    In 2001, his diplomatic status enabled him to leave Rome after attacking three Italian policemen with a fire extinguisher in his hotel.

    In September 2004, his bodyguard was arrested for attacking police in Paris after Qaddafi was stopped for driving 140 kmph (90 mph) through red lights on the wrong side of the Champs Elysees while drunk. The guard was given a suspended sentence of a month and a 1,500-euro ($2,300) fine, Qaddafi was not detained due to his diplomatic status.

    Several months later, he was given a four-month suspended sentence and a 500-euro ($800) fine after beating up his 24 year-old female companion when she refused him access to a room at the InterContinental hotel in Paris. Later in the day, he broke furniture in another hotel and threatened police with a gun.

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