The liberation and repatriation of Vladimir Dolgov and Alexander Shadrov, citizens of Russia who have been convicted in Libya, is among the Russian Foreign Ministry priorities.

"In connection with controversial reports appearing from time to time in our press, including with reference to relatives of Shadrov and Dolgov, whom a Libyan military court has convicted for aiding and abetting the Muammar Qaddafi regime, we would like to confirm that the liberation of the said Russian citizens and their return to Russia is among priorities for the Russian Foreign Ministry, particularly our embassy in Tripoli," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a commentary on Saturday.

Immediately after the two Russians were convicted, an appeal was filed with assistance from a local lawyer hired by the Russian embassy, he said.

"The consideration and appeal of the sentence handed down by a court has been dragged out because, as Libya says, the government institutions, including judicial bodies, are undergoing reorganization now. Nevertheless, Libyan authorities have assured us that a decision on this issue will be made in the near future," Lukashevich said.

"We are determined to further actively press on the Libyan side to ensure the soonest possible liberation and return of Shadrov and Dolgov, as well as the citizens of Belarus and Ukraine convicted along with them, to their home country," Lukashevich said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the issue with Libyan Foreign Minister Ashur bin Khayal on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York on Sept. 27, he said. It was reported earlier that the Libyan insurgent brigade Al Qa\'qaa captured Russian citizens Vladimir Dolgov and Alexander Shadrov, along with several Ukrainian and Belarusian citizens (25 people in total), on August 27, 2011. All of these people were accused of restoring military hardware the Muammar Gaddafi regime used "to exterminate the Libyan people."

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