A Fairfax County judge has delayed until today a decision on whether to release the names of the 12 Libyans who were arrested Wednesday after they seized their country's student aid office in McLean.
The Libyans gave their names to the General District Court Judge Frank B. Perry on Monday but asked that they be kept secret, arguing that revelation of their identities could place their relatives and friends in danger.
Perry agreed to withhold the names for at least 24 hours until he could determine whether he had the authority to grant the protesters' request. Yesterday he decided to hold a hearing on the issue before making a decision.
The 12 men are charged with abducting three employes of the People's Committee for Students of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Inc. They seized the organization's McLean office and held it for about nine hours before peacefully surrendering to police. There were no injuries, but a lawyer for the center said the students did $250,000 damage.
During negotiations Wednesday, the men claimed that the office is a center for terrorism activities against critics of Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi, a charge the attorney for Libya strongly denied.
The attorney, Richard C. Shadyac, has demanded that the names be released, calling the protesters "common criminals." Shadyac has accused the CIA and FBI of involvement in the break-in. Both the CIA and FBI have denied the charges.
Last year a Manhattan Criminal Court judge agreed to a similiar request to withhold the names of 40 Libyan protesters who occupied their country's mission to the United Nations.