December 22, 2009 / 5:18 PM / in 9 years

Gaddafi son sues Geneva, paper for police photo

* Geneva paper published photo following July 2008 arrest

* Arrest sparked diplomatic row, led Libya to cut oil

GENEVA, Dec 22 (Reuters) - A son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is suing Geneva authorities and a city newspaper for a published police photograph following his arrest in the Swiss city last year on charges of mistreating domestic employees.

Hannibal Gaddafi demanded damages for the “illegal invasion” of privacy and harm done to his reputation for the leaked police photo on the Tribune de Geneve’s front page on Sept 4, 2009.

He filed a civil suit against Geneva cantonal authorities, the paper and an unnamed journalist on Dec. 17, a statement from Geneva’s judiciary said. No further details would be released.

Gaddafi and his pregnant wife Aline were briefly arrested in July 2008 in their luxury Geneva lakeside hotel on charges of mistreating two domestic employees. The charges were later dropped as part of an out-of-court settlement.

Libya cut oil supplies to Switzerland and withdrew more than $5 billion in assets from Swiss banks after the arrests, which sparked a diplomatic row which is still festering.

Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz flew to Libya in August 2009 to apologise personally for the arrest and agreed to set up an independent committee to investigate the circumstances.

Two Swiss businessmen have been prevented from leaving Libya since the arrest. Tripoli denies any connection between the cases.

Max Goeldi, the Libyan head of Swiss electrical engineering group ABB ABBN.VX, and Rachid Hamdani, a construction company employee, were sentenced last month to 16 months in prison for immigration offences.

Their trials on separate charges of illegal economic activity, which were to have taken place last weekend, have been delayed until the start of next year, the Swiss foreign ministry said on Sunday. [IDnLDE5BJ09k]

Amnesty International has denounced their first trial as “unfair” and failing to conform to international standards. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay)

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