Wednesday 18 October 2017

Gaddafi minister 'died by drowning'

David Blair in London

A former pillar of Col Muammar Gaddafi's regime, who defected shortly before the Libyan dictator's downfall, died "by drowning" in the Danube with no suspicious circumstances, Austrian police said yesterday.

Shukri Ghanem, who served as Gaddafi's prime minister and then oil minister, was found in the Danube in central Vienna on Sunday, a few hundred yards from his flat.

Roman Hahslinger, a spokesman for the Vienna police, said there were "no signs of involvement by another party".

Nothing on the body suggested a violent struggle, although further tests will be conducted and a "decisive" toxicology report is expected next week.

There was no evidence to suggest murder or suicide, added Mr Hahslinger.

Mr Ghanem (69) had complained to his daughter on Saturday of feeling unwell, shortly before his body was discovered. No suicide note has been found.

Mr Ghanem was viewed as a pro-Western reformer in Gaddafi's inner circle. He served as prime minister for three years until 2006, coinciding with the period when Libya repaired its relations with leading Western powers and surrendered its stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.

He then became oil minister -- becoming a regular visitor to Vienna, where the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries has its headquarters -- before defecting to Austria last May. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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