Kentucky businessman is missing in Libya

The Lexington Herald-LeaderApril 12, 2011 

Lexington businessman Zeyad Ramadan was supposed to be on a Lufthansa flight out of Libya on March 16. It was canceled because the United Nations Security Council was about to establish a no-fly zone to protect civilians in Libya.

Three days later, about 8 p.m., Ramadan, 39, his brother and two associates were arrested at a Tripoli apartment by what neighbors there have reported were Libyan Internal Security Agency officials.

No one has seen or heard from the men since.

Asma Ghoneim, wife of Ramadan, said Monday at her parents' home in Lexington that Internet and phone connections to Libya had been sporadic since March 3 and that the last time she spoke with her husband was March 15. It was a typical family conversation.

"He had not expressed any concern for his own safety," the 33-year-old mother of two said.

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

The couple met in Seattle, where Ramadan, a British citizen and University of Miami graduate, was a software entrepreneur. They moved to Lexington two years ago because Ramadan knew he would be doing a lot of traveling and wanted his wife to be close to her family, which had moved here when she was a child.

He saw Libya as a great market for expanding a mobile cellular business, and he had been there since Dec. 28.

Ghoneim, a naturalized American citizen, wasn't worried about her husband's trips to Libya, her native land.

On March 20, the family with whom 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 that it was turned off.

Ghoneim said she was concerned, but "I didn't make too much of it at first."

Then the reports from witnesses began to trickle in.

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