Libyan Interior Minister Emad Trabelsi was arrested in Paris on Friday (3 March), the media Libya Review reported.
Trabelsi was arrested at Charles de Gaulle airport “carrying a large sum of cash”. He was released after several hours.
#BREAKING@LibyaReview sources have confirmed that Libyan Minister of Interior Emad Al-Trabulsi was stopped & questioned at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport for carrying a large sum of cash.https://t.co/PzK4AXb3CT#Libya #LibyaReview pic.twitter.com/QSyTMJqYOm
— Libya Review (@LibyaReview) March 3, 2023
Who is Trabelsi
Trabelsi was appointed as ‘temporary’ interior minister of Tripoli’s government by Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah on 6 November, less than a month after being nominated deputy interior minister.
Back in 2018, Trabelsi was implicated in a US State Department annual report on human rights. In the report, a UN panel of experts surveyed rights violations in Libya, as reported by the Italian journalist Nello Scavo.
Trabelsi was listed as a militia man and “recipient of unlawfully obtained funds”, the panel of experts stated, adding that Trabelsi was controlling an armed group called ‘Special Operation Forces’, “which collected around 5,000 dinars [3,600 dollars] per tanker passing through its checkpoints”.
As reported by Italian journalist Sergio Scandura in December, the result was the illegal entry of thousands of dollars worth of petroleum products into Tunisia.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government is seeking to strengthen relations with Libya primarily to find a way to prevent the departures of migrants and seek alternatives to Russian gas.
On 29 December, Trabelsi met an Italian delegation of the interior ministry and Italian secret services.
A ‘memorandum of understanding’ with Tripoli on the interception of migrants by the Libyan coast guard was renewed on 2 February.
In late January, during a trip to the African country, Meloni signed an €8 billion gas deal with the government in Tripoli, telling the press at the time that migration was among the topics discussed, as Reuters reported.
On 21 February, Piantedosi, the Italian interior minister, met Trabelsi to discuss “common actions” between Italy and Libya to deal with migration.
“Piantedosi attends the Scuola Superiore di Polizia with Libyan Interior Minister Trabelsi at the start of the work of the taskforce Italy – Libya on security and immigration, an operational tool to share common actions” the Ministry of Interior wrote on Twitter.
#Piantedosi presenzia alla Scuola Superiore di Polizia con il Ministro dell'interno libico Trabelsi all’avvio dei lavori della #taskforce Italia ?? – Libia ?? in materia di #sicurezza e #immigrazione, strumento operativo per condividere azioni comuni.#21febbraio pic.twitter.com/9mBeLQ9VZE
— Il Viminale (@Viminale) February 21, 2023
[Edited by Benjamin Fox]