Melinda Taylor’s parents plead with Libya
The parents of detained Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor have pleaded with Libyan authorities to release their daughter in time for her toddler’s third birthday next month.
THE parents of detained Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor have pleaded with Libyan authorities to release their daughter in time for her toddler’s third birthday next month.
In their first public comments on their daughter’s ordeal, John and Janelle Taylor told ABC radio they “pray and hope” she will be released soon.
The Brisbane-based couple still have not been allowed to speak with their daughter, who was detained along with three other International Criminal Court officials in the Libyan city of Zintan last week.
But Mrs Taylor says she has a simple message for her daughter: “Hang in there girl.”
Ms Taylor lives in the Netherlands with her husband Geoff. Their daughter turns three on July 14.
“So hopefully her mother will be there for her to help her blow out the birthday candles,” Mrs Taylor said.
The four-member legal team for Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Seif al-Islam, has been held since Thursday after Ms Taylor was allegedly found carrying documents for Seif that were considered a “threat to national security”.
They have been placed in “preventive detention” for 45 days as authorities investigate further.
The Taylors say they are surprised by the claims against their daughter.
“Melinda’s work was very confidential,” Janelle said.
“The work that she does she deals with in a very confidential way and she would never share anything of her work with anyone. She’s too professional.”
Australia’s ambassador to Libya, David Ritchie, met with Ms Taylor for 90 minutes overnight and reported back to Foreign Minister Bob Carr.
Senator Carr said Mr Ritchie found Ms Taylor in good spirits, despite her incarceration.
“He described it as a prison but a new one. A small prison but one where the conditions are good,” Senator Carr told ABC radio.
“They’re under guard, they’re under duress.”
He said the Libyans are attaching great importance to the case.
“The disturbing part of his report is that there’s no evidence of a Libyan interest in an early release,” he said.
Ms Taylor is part of an ICC team in Libya helping Seif choose a defence lawyer.
Ahmed Jehani, Libya’s envoy to the ICC, has said she was caught “exchanging papers” with Seif.
Mr Jehani alleges Ms Taylor was carrying a pen camera and a letter from Mohammed Ismail, Seif’s former right-hand man, who is now on the run.
He said the letter contained drawings and symbols, a “code” that would be understood only by the sender and the intended recipient, Seif. - AAP