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Family fears for Briton in Libya

A British businessman has been missing in Libya since mid-March, and his US-based family fears that forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have arrested him.

Asma Ghoneim said that her husband, Zeyad Ramadan, has not been seen or heard from since his Lufthansa flight out of Libya was cancelled on March 16 amid unrest and the imposition of a no-fly zone.

Ms Ghoneim, 33, told The Lexington Herald-Leader that neighbours later reported that Libyan Internal Security Agency officials had arrested her 39-year-old husband and two associates two days later at a Tripoli apartment.

Ms Ghoneim, staying at her parents' home in Lexington, Kentucky, said internet and phone connections to Libya had been sporadic since March 3. She said when she last spoke to her husband on March 15, it was a typical family conversation and he expressed no concerns for his safety.

"I know he is not political," she said. "I know his brother is not political. Neither has any affiliations whatsoever. They are just businessmen."

Ms Ghoneim, a naturalised American citizen, was not worried about her husband's trips to Libya, her native land, which he saw as a great market for expanding a mobile phone business. Mr Ramadan had been in the country since December 28.

On March 20, the family with whom Mr Ramadan had been staying in Tripoli called to say that he had left the night before to visit friends. He said he would be back shortly, but he had not returned, she was told. They said that they had tried calling his phone but it was turned off.

After that, neighbours reported that Mr Ramadan, his brother Gahzi Ramadan and two of the brothers' associates - Khaled Sury and a Libyan Microsoft manager named Khalid Elhasumi - were seized by Gaddafi loyalists. The four men's laptops, computers, personal belongings and identification were confiscated, and they were arrested and driven away.

Because Zeyad Ramadan is a British citizen, the family contacted the UK Foreign Office for help.

"We don't know where he is," said Ms Ghoneim, explaining that her husband's situation could be growing worse by the day because he is a diabetic and might not have had medication to control the disease for almost a month.

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