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Based on a true story: 'Shugaley' shows the horror of the Libyan war. Screenshot from eponymous movie.

‘Shugaley’: In the hands of Islamist terrorists

The Coronavirus pandemic has not been not an obstacle for the release of a new Russian movie about Libyan war, available online from April.

Published: April 6, 2020, 12:39 pm

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    The commotion around Coronavirus has swept across the whole planet. However, it has not cancelled out other burning current issues in full public view, yet to be resolved.

    This is exactly what the authors of the new movie about the war in Libya believe – they produced an action-thriller “Shugaley” based on a true story of a Russian sociologist Maxim Shugaley and his Arab interpreter Samer Sweifan who both were captured in Libya.

    The pair visited at the invitation of the authorities for research work. They are currently being held in a private prison at Mitiga Airport near Tripoli, controlled by the RADA group – one of the subordinates to the Libyan Interior Ministry.

    According to the director of the Russian Foundation for the Protection of National Values, Alexander Malkevich, the “Shugaley” movie was released online in April 2020.

    “The main objective of the movie is to draw attention of Russian authorities and international human rights institutions to the fate of citizens who ended up in Libyan prisons, these people who became hostages of terrorists,” Malkevich wrote on his Telegram account.

    The thriller recounts the geopolitical confrontation in Libya and explores both political intrigues and intense battle scenes for viewers. According to the plot, a group of sociologists visits to a country where an extended and atrocious armed conflict has been wreaking havoc.

    In the course of their research, scientists discover information extremely dangerous to reveal for the puppet government installed in the country. Thus, the Russian sociologist and his interpreter are taken to a private prison where they have to suffer bloodcurdling torture and humiliation from Libyan gunmen.

    The director of the movie Denis Neimand stated that the production team has been trying to convey everything on screen that has remained beyond the scope of insipid news releases: “At the center of the story are real professionals, dedicated Russian heroes who are now stuck in the Libyan prison in brutal conditions.”

    According to some sources, the Russian sociologists are accused of interference in Libyan elections. However, no formal accusations have been brought against them. Maxim Shugaley and Samer Sweifan were captured in May last year. During this duration, they were allowed to meet with a lawyer and pass letters to relatives only once while being incarcerated.

    Since the overthrow and murder of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, Libya has been in a state of permanent civil war. In 2015, after Libyan political agreement was reached, the opposing parties agreed to establish the Government of National Accord (GNA), whose mandate ended at the end of 2017. During that time, the new Constitution of the country was supposed to have been decided, and terrorists across the country disarmed. Neither, however, has happened. In fact, the GNA themselves rely on terrorists and religious extremists.

    Since April 2019, a renewed conflict has erupted between Islamists supported by the GNA, which controls Tripoli, and the Libyan National Army headed by Khalifa Haftar, who is subordinate to the secular government in the east of the country.

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