Two Azerbaijani nationals arrested in Libya returned to their country on Thursday after five years in detention on charges of smuggling fuel, the press service of the Azerbaijani foreign ministry said.
Their case dates back to March 2016 when the Libyan Coast Guard detained a vessel belonging to a Turkish registered company. The 12 crew members, including the three Azerbaijani nationals, were jailed for five years for smuggling oil. One of the three men died in Libya.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry revealed the efforts of Turkey's leaders with Libya and coordination from Ukraine for the urgent evacuation of its citizens Mikhail Bagirov and Aliaga Babayev, who were repatriated by plane. In recent years, suspected cargo ships in Libyan territorial waters have been repeatedly detained, accused of smuggling fuel and weapons.
Two weeks ago, the Ukrainian presidency announced the return to their country of four Ukrainian sailors who had been detained in Libya since 2016 on charges of oil smuggling.