Politics & Policy

A Meta-Defection

A marvelous story from the Lede:


A diplomat dispatched to Geneva from Tripoli by Libya’s government to replace colleagues who spoke out against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi at the United Nations last week, has defected and denounced the regime himself.

The diplomat, Muhammad Murad Hamimah, told BBC News on Friday from Egypt that the population of Tripoli is almost entirely against Colonel Qaddafi but is being “held hostage by the security forces.”

Asked about images of pro-Qaddafi rallies shown on Libyan state television, Mr. Hamimah said that it is not hard to round up one or two thousand people to demonstrate for the cameras if you pay them.

On Thursday, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation reported that Mr. Hamimah had released a statement after leaving Libya in which he said that he would not serve as Libya’s U.N. representative in Geneva, just days after he had been appointed to that post.


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