AJE. Libya's government threatens students in US:
In an apparent effort to control the public narrative in the wake of rare protests that have spread throughout Libya, the country's government is threatening to withdraw scholarship funding from citizens studying in the United States unless they attend pro-government rallies in Washington this weekend, Al Jazeera has learned.
It's interesting to see the phrase "control the public narrative" in a lead written from an actual news-gathering operation.
Several Libyans studying in the US said they and their peers have received phone calls this week from a man employed by the Libyan embassy instructing them to join rallies in the capital on Friday and Saturday. The man told the students that their government-funded scholarships would be cut off if they did not attend.
Ali Suleiman Aujali, the Libyan ambassador to the United States, denied the students' allegations. He told Al Jazeera they were "completely incorrect" and an attempt to "blackmail" the government's reputation. ...
The Libyan embassy employee in the US told students that the government would pay for all the expenses associated with attending the rally, including a plane ticket, hotel room and food, the students said.
They spoke with Al Jazeera on the condition they remain anonymous because they feared retribution from the government if their identities were made public [#10].
One student in his mid-20s who graduated from medical school in Libya and is preparing to take his physicians’ licensing exam said that the man from the embassy called late on Tuesday night and identified himself as a cultural liaison.
"He said, 'Listen, you’re going to have to come … it's not your choice, it's best you go, it's better than the consequences'." the student said.
"I said, what do you mean, the consequences? And he said, 'You’ll lose your scholarship.' And I said, 'Are you threatening me?' And he said, 'No it's not a threat, it's the reality'."
The cultural liaison said he had a list of names and that the government would note those who attended, the student said.
"I felt embarrassed, I felt coerced," he said.
Way to hang on to the professional classes, there, Muammar.