Libya releases South Korean pastor after president’s brother meets with Gadhafi, SKorea says

Sunday, October 3, 2010

SKorea: Libya releases South Korean pastor

SEOUL, South Korea — Libya released a South Korean Christian pastor and a businessman on Sunday who had been detained on accusations of proselytizing in the predominantly Muslim country, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said.

Efforts to seek their release had dragged on for several months amid diplomatic tensions over Libya’s expulsion of a South Korean Embassy official in June for allegedly collecting information on its leader, Moammar Gadhafi, his family and other senior politicians.

The dispute was settled on Friday when Lee Sang-deuk, a lawmaker who is the brother of South Korea’s president, met with Gadhafi, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kim Young-sun said.

“There have been some diplomatic concerns in South Korea-Libya relations and lawmaker Lee’s visit aimed to neatly resolve them,” Kim said. “Last week’s talks with Gadhafi completely finalized all lingering issues.”

Kim denied Libyan allegations that the embassy official was an intelligence agent.

The pastor was arrested in June on charges of bringing Christian material into the North African country for missionary work. The other South Korean man was arrested a month later and accused of helping to finance the pastor’s religious activities.

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