UN calls on Tunisia to release world body official

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The United Nations called on Tunisia to immediately release a UN official detained more than six weeks ago as part of an investigation by a Tunisian anti-terrorism unit.

Tunisian national Moncef Kartas is a member of a panel of experts monitoring sanctions, including an arms embargo, on Libya and reports to the UN Security Council. He was detained in late March at Tunis airport.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Kartas’ detention and prosecution was “in violation of the privileges and immunities granted to Mr. Kartas in the interests of the United Nations.”

He told reporters the United Nations formally asked Tunisia for Kartas’ “immediate release and for charges against him to be dropped.”

A spokesman for a Tunisian anti-terrorism judiciary unit told Tunisian state news agency the detained official travelled in a private capacity on his Tunisian passport, meaning he was not entitled to diplomatic immunity and could be arrested.