On Monday, June 4, a Libyan military court convicted nineteen Ukrainians, three Belarusians and a Russian accused of having been mercenaries of Muammar Gaddafi to ten years imprisonment with hard labor. The Russian, considered the group coordinator, was imposed life
imprisonment. Ukrainian and Belarusian ambassadors present at the announcement of the verdict, have described it as "heavy" and announced that the convicts would appeal.
The twenty-four men, who rejected the accusations, said that they came to Libya to work in the oil sector, were suspected of having prepared the launch surface to air missiles to target aircraft of NATO during the conflict that caused the downfall and death
of the former Libyan leader, in 2011.
At the opening of their trial in April, a military spokesman had also mentioned "other charges relating to the support they have given to the former regime and attacked civilians by acting the balance of Gaddafi and his brigades " . According to
preliminary results of the investigation , these men had come to Libya on their own initiative and without the support of their country, the spokesman said.
April 11, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said he believed in the innocence of the citizens pursued and sought to obtain their release, or at least their repatriation to their sentences in Ukraine in if convicted. Since their arrest, the fall of Tripoli,
at the end of August 2011, twenty-four suspected mercenaries were held in the headquarters of a brigade of former rebel fighters into the Libyan capital.