Libyan Interior Minister Arrested In Paris With ‘Large Sum Of Cash’


By Eleonora Vasques

Libyan Interior Minister Emad Trabelsi was arrested in Paris on Friday (3 March), the media Libya Review reported.

Trabelsi was arrested at Charles de Gaulle airport “carrying a large sum of cash”. He was released after several hours.

Who is Trabelsi 

Trabelsi was appointed as ‘temporary’ interior minister of Tripoli’s government by Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah on 6 November, less than a month after being nominated deputy interior minister.

Back in 2018, Trabelsi was implicated in a US State Department annual report on human rights. In the report, a UN panel of experts surveyed rights violations in Libya, as reported by the Italian journalist Nello Scavo.

Trabelsi was listed as a militia man and “recipient of unlawfully obtained funds”, the panel of experts stated, adding that Trabelsi was controlling an armed group called ‘Special Operation Forces’, “which collected around 5,000 dinars [3,600 dollars] per tanker passing through its checkpoints”.

As reported by Italian journalist Sergio Scandura from the media RadioRadicale in December, the result was the illegal entry of thousands of dollars worth of petroleum products into Tunisia.


In several occasion, Trabelsi met Italian authorities to discuss relations with the two countries, mainly on migration management.

A ‘memorandum of understanding’ with Tripoli on the interception of migrants by the Libyan coast guard in the Mediterranean Sea is in place since 2017, and it was renewed on 2 February.

On 29 December, Trabelsi met an Italian delegation of the interior ministry and Italian secret services.

In late January, during a trip to the African country, Meloni signed an €8 billion gas deal with the government in Tripoli, telling the press at the time that migration was among the topics discussed, as Reuters reported.

On 21 February, Piantedosi, the Italian interior minister, met Trabelsi to discuss “common actions” between Italy and Libya to deal with migration.  

“Piantedosi attends the Scuola Superiore di Polizia with Libyan Interior Minister Trabelsi at the start of the work of the taskforce Italy – Libya on security and immigration, an operational tool to share common actions” the Ministry of Interior wrote on Twitter.


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