Defensive … Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr claims Pippi Bean received “considerable consular treatment.”THE Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr, has defended the treatment of aid worker Pippi Bean, who was detained in Libya last week, saying she had received ”considerable consular assistance”.
Ms Bean told the Herald the ”lowest point” of her time under questioning by Libya’s security services was when she was told of Senator Carr’s comments on ABC TV that she ”doesn’t require further assistance”.
Senator Carr responded yesterday with a detailed timeline of the assistance she had received, beginning on September 24 when she first called the consul at the Australian embassy in Cairo (the nearest Australian representative to Libya) to inform them she had been summoned to answer questions by Libyan authorities.
The timeline shows phone calls – all initiated by Ms Bean – each day for three days then, on September 27, a call from the consul to check on her welfare and a formal communication from him to the Libyan government ”seeking advice on Ms Bean’s legal status”.
That day Senator Carr was interviewed on ABC radio, and said ”it’s not our practice to send lawyers in to Australians who might have some argument or might be in some trouble with a foreign jurisdiction”.
He also said: ”We will provide in this case, as we do in all comparable cases, consular assistance”.
The next day, September 28, the consul arrived in Libya, and a representative from the British embassy in Tripoli offered to accompany her to her next meeting with Libyan authorities.
On Friday last week both British and Australian representatives accompanied her to a meeting with Libyan officials and escorted her to the airport.
Senator Carr said the comments that had concerned Ms Bean from his 7.30 interview were ”correct at the time of the recording”. Ms Bean said yesterday she would not be offering any further comment.
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