Australian freed from Libya prison

2012-03-09 12:13
Sydney - An Australian adventurer seized by a Libyan militia while trekking across the Sahara has been released after a 28-day prison ordeal, officials said on Friday.

Tom Smitheringale was attempting the trek to raise money for the Starlight Foundation, a charity that works to improve the quality of life for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses.

According to reports, he was held after crossing the border from Egypt during his bid to walk across the desert to Morocco and thrown in jail in the port city of Benghazi.

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed they assisted Smitheringale, a former soldier.

"Our embassies in Cairo and Rome provided consular assistance to an Australian man detained in Libya, who has since been released," a spokesperson said in a statement.

"Consular officials in Canberra also provided assistance to the man's family."

The West Australian newspaper said British officials, with the aid of Australian representatives, found and "extracted" the 41-year-old from his jail and put him on a plane to Istanbul.

Perth-based Smitheringale said he was relieved "to see the sun again".

"28 days in a Libyan militia prison. The first 27 were the hardest," he said on his blog.

"These people are definitely not to be trifled with.

"It would be inappropriate of me to elaborate on the details of my capture and extraction and as I'm still in country."

Smitheringale, who describes himself as a "grown up version of Action Man", had previously attempted to become only the third person in history to reach the North Pole unassisted in 2010.

But he had to be rescued by the Canadian military after activating a distress beacon.

Read more on:    australia  |  libya  |  north africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.