A Fairfax County grand jury yesterday indicted 12 Libyans on three misdemeanor charges for their roles in the Dec. 22 takeover of their country's student aid office in McLean.
Attorneys for the Libyans said the men will plead guilty to the lesser charges in return for a plea bargain agreement with prosecutors dropping abduction charges against them.
Each of the Libyans was indicted on charges of unlawful assembly, assaulting two office employes and destroying private property, said Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. "If they plead guilty to the three charges, we will drop the abduction charges," he said.
"We plan to plead guilty to the misdemeanors if we can complete the plea bargain," said Donald G. Ferrell, attorney for the Libyans. The men were charged originally with abducting three employes of the People's Committee for Students of Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Inc., a private corporation that provides scholarships to Libyan students.
"We are unalterably opposed to this plea bargain agreement ," said Richard C. Shadyac, a lawyer representing the McLean center. "If we allow this to be handled in this way, all we're doing is inviting this kind of activity . . . How you can treat this cavalierly is beyond my comprehension."
The nine-hour takeover of the McLean office ended peacefully and with no injuries, but with an alleged $250,000 damage to the building. The protesters said the center is used by Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi to spy on Libyan students, a charge the organization denies.
The organization that operates the center has filed a $12 million lawsuit against the 12 Libyans in Fairfax Circuit Court. The group accused the men of trespassing and destroying personal property.
Three of the Libyans have been released on bond, while the other nine remain in the county jail.