GENEVA, (Reuters) – A son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has been released on bail after he and his wife were charged with ill-treatment of two domestic employees, his lawyer said on Friday.
Motassim Bilal Gaddafi denied the charges, his lawyer said.
Gaddafi, known as Hannibal, was arrested in a luxury hotel in Geneva on Tuesday after staff alerted police to repeated arguments in their suite. He spent two nights in jail while his wife Aline, who is nine months pregnant, was taken to hospital feeling unwell.
The couple paid bail of 500,000 Swiss francs ($490,000)and were freed late on Thursday on condition that they appear for hearings, his lawyer Robert Assael said. “He was indicted for bodily injury, restraining an employee in a hotel suite and verbal threats. He considers it slander and denies all charges,” Assael told Reuters.
The couple are free to leave the country, he said. The Swiss news agency ATS quoted the wife’s lawyer Alain Berger as saying they had already left Geneva and probably Switzerland as well.
Investigating magistrate Michel-Alexandre Graber charged the couple after a Tunisian woman and a Moroccan man employed as their domestic servants filed formal complaints of mistreatment, Assael said. Their lawyer, Francois Membrez, said they had been “sequestered, beaten, exploited and insulted”.
Gaddafi’s daughter-in-law came to the lakeside city two weeks ago to give birth in a private Swiss clinic.
A conviction for bodily injury carries a prison term of up to three years and a fine in Switzerland.
The case has caused embarrassment in Switzerland, especially as Libya is its main energy supplier.
The Swiss foreign ministry has declined comment but Swiss newspapers have reported that Libyan authorities put heavy pressure on their Swiss counterparts over the case, but were told the Swiss judiciary is independent.