- Associated Press - Saturday, February 16, 2013

RIPOLI, Libya — Four foreigners were arrested in Libya on suspicion of distributing books about Christianity and proselytizing, a Libyan police spokesman said on Saturday. Police spokesman Hussein bin Hamid said the suspects were from South Africa, Egypt and South Korea, and one held both Swedish and U.S. nationality. The Swedish Foreign Ministry confirmed that a dual national Swedish-American citizen was arrested while traveling on a U.S. passport. The U.S. Embassy in Libya declined comment.

Spreading Christianity is a crime in the predominantly Muslim North African county.

The four were arrested in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday and are under investigation for printing and distributing books that proselytize Christianity. Police said they found 45,000 books in their possession and that another 25,000 have already been distributed.

Bin Hamid said that embassy officials have visited them. He would not say where they are being held.

Last year, the International Committee of the Red Cross had to suspend its activities in Benghazi after assailants launched attacks on its offices. The aid group was accused by some in Libya of distributing Bibles and proselytizing.

• Jan Hansen in Stockholm, Sweden contributed to this report.


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