Wales

Gareth Montgomery-Johnson's sister denies Libya spy claim

The sister of a Welsh journalist detained in Libya has rejected claims her brother is a spy.

Gareth Montgomery-Johnson, 36, from Carmarthen, a cameraman with Iranian TV network Press TV, is being held with Nicholas Davies, from Berkshire.

The militia holding them say they are being investigated for alleged spying.

Mr Montgomery-Johnson's sister Mel Gribble said: "He's not a spy. We emphatically don't regard him as a spy in any way shape or form."

She added: "He's just my younger brother."

Ms Gribble said her brother and his colleague were found to be "very withdrawn and very quiet" when interviewed by Foreign Office staff.

She said: "They are under a lot of scrutinisation. The finger is being pointed at them constantly. They are being bombarded with questions. They are very emotional.

She said that Foreign Office staff were "following all the criteria and protocols set in place" but that did not "stop all the feelings of inadequacy".

Image caption Militia chief Faraj al-Swehli said his men had tracked the pair as they moved around Tripoli

Ms Gribble said Press TV had told her that it was hoping to send a lawyer to help the pair but had admitted there were problems getting a visa.

Rights groups have called for their release.

Faraj al-Swehli, commander of a Misrata brigade, has told reporters that he believed the two men were spies.

He said the men had entered Libya illegally and were carrying "incriminating evidence".

Reporters at a press conference in the capital were shown video footage of what was purported to be the two journalists test-firing weapons.

Members of the militia also produced a field dressing that they said they had been found in the journalists' possession.

It was of a type, they said, used by the Israeli military.

'Immigration documents'

Mr Swehli told reporters that his men had tracked the pair as they moved around Tripoli and were conducting their own investigation into the spying suspicion.

Mr Montgomery-Johnson and Mr Davies, who works under the name Nick Jones, were detained on 21 February, apparently while filming late at night on the streets of Tripoli.

The initial accusation against them was that their immigration documents were not in order.

The Libyan Prime Minister's office and the interior ministry told the BBC that they knew nothing of the allegations of spying.

All efforts by the interim government and the British embassy to persuade the militia to release the journalists into official custody have so far met with refusal.

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