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Russia condemns Libya over use of force against civilians - Medvedev

RIA Novosti

18:08 25/02/2011

ST. PETERSBURG, February 25 (RIA Novosti) - Russia condemns Libyan authorities over its use of force against civilians, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday.

Protests against the 42-year rule of Col. Muammar Gaddafi began on February 15 and have left at least 2,000 people dead, according to media and human rights organizations. Foreigners are being urgently evacuated, and Libyan authorities are threatening more brutality against protesters.

"Moscow is strongly concerned over events happening in Libya," Medvedev said. "The deepest regret is raised over numerous victims the media reports," he continued. "Russia condemns the use of force against the civilian population sanctioned by the country's leadership."

"We strongly urge the present government of Libya and all responsible political leaders of the country to show restraint in order to prevent further deterioration and destruction of civilians," the president said, adding: "Otherwise, such actions will be qualified as a crime under all the implications of international law."

Libya's top prosecutor, Abdul-Rahman al-Abbar, has followed suit of other officials in the troubled country and resigned to join the opposition against the long-time dictator.

The dictator's cousin and close aide, Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam, defected to Egypt on Thursday in protest against the brutal treatment of demonstrators.

Iran's Press TV channel said on Friday that Gaddafi's son, Saif Al Arab, had joined the anti-government protests in rebellious Benghazi in northeast Libya. German media said the 28-year-old Al Arab, a student at a university in Munich, had fled Germany leaving about 900,000 euros of debt behind.

The 27-nation European Union is considering sanctions against Gaddafi and his entourage, said Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson for EU Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton.

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