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Libya Detains Four Christians on Suspicion of Proselytizing

Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Libyan authorities have detained four Christians suspected of proselytizing, the spokesman for the North African country’s military Protective Security Service said today.

A South African, Egyptian, South Korean and a Swede with a U.S. passport were detained in Benghazi, the country’s second-largest city, in the past week, said Huseein Ben Hamid, the security division’s spokesman. The four had printed 70 books about Christianity and distributed 25 of them, he alleged. Attempts to convert Libyan Muslims to another faith are illegal.

Officials at the U.S. and South Korean embassies in Tripoli declined to comment on the detentions when contacted by Bloomberg. A phone message seeking comment was left with the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.

Ben Hamid said the four would be subject to further investigation in the next few days, after celebrations to mark the second anniversary of the uprising against the nation’s former leaders Muammar Qaddafi.

To contact the reporter on this story: Saleh Sarar in Tripoli at ssarar@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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