September 3, 2008 / 3:46 PM / 10 years ago

Swiss prosecutor drops case against Gaddafi son

GENEVA (Reuters) - Geneva’s public prosecutor said on Wednesday he was dropping a criminal case against a son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi after two North African domestic workers withdrew an assault complaint.

A statement from the office of the prosecutor, Daniel Zappelli, said he was also not pursuing a lesser charge against Hannibal Gaddafi and his wife Aline of constraining their two employees, a Moroccan man and a Tunisian woman.

Zappelli said he had acted after the lawyer for the plaintiffs had given assurances before a judge that the employees, who filed the case after an incident in a Geneva hotel in July, had withdrawn it of their own free will.

The brief detention in Geneva of the Libyan leader’s son sparked anger in Tripoli and led to the detention of two Swiss nationals and warnings that oil shipments could be halted to Switzerland, for which Libya is the main energy supplier.

Swiss government officials, arguing that the matter was a purely legal one and unrelated to politics, scrambled to defuse the highly embarrassing row. Zappelli said last month he would not drop the case because of its diplomatic implications.

The statement on Wednesday said the bail of 500,000 Swiss francs ($450,000) the Gaddafi couple had lodged before they returned to Tripoli would now be given back to them.

It was not the first time Hannibal Gaddafi had been in legal trouble in Europe. In May 2005, a Paris court gave him a suspended four-month prison sentence on charges of slapping a pregnant woman and carrying a gun without a license.

Reporting by Robert Evans; editing by Tony Austin

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