Libyans look at the destroyed side room of the Coptic church on December 31, 2012, damaged following an explosion at night in the Mediterranean town of Dafinya, just west of Misrata in which two Egyptians were killed., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Libya arrests suspected Christian missionaries
3:44p.m. EST February 16, 2013
One of the alleged missionaries is both a U.S. and Swedish citizen
The other three are from South Africa, Egypt and South Korea
Police say they distributed 25,000 of 60,000 books in their possession
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Four foreigners were arrested in Libya on suspicion of distributing books about Christianity and proselytizing, a Libyan police spokesman said on Saturday.
Police spokesman Hussein bin Hamid said the suspects were from South Africa, Egypt and South Korea, and one held both Swedish and U.S. nationality. The Swedish Foreign Ministry confirmed that a dual national Swedish-American citizen was arrested while traveling on a U.S. passport. The U.S. Embassy in Libya declined comment.
Spreading Christianity is a crime in the predominantly Muslim North African county.
The four were arrested in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday and are under investigation for printing and distributing books that proselytize Christianity. Police said they found 45,000 books in their possession and that another 25,000 have already been distributed.
Bin Hamid said that embassy officials have visited them. He would not say where they are being held.
Last year, the International Committee of the Red Cross had to suspend its activities in Benghazi after assailants launched attacks on its offices. The aid group was accused by some in Libya of distributing Bibles and proselytizing.