Iran confirms release of kidnapped Belgian couple

The Iranian police on Wednesday confirmed that the Belgian couple who had been kidnapped in south-eastern Iran have been released, Fars news agency reported.

Iran confirms release of kidnapped Belgian couple
The Iranian police on Wednesday confirmed that the Belgian couple who had been kidnapped in south-eastern Iran have been released, Fars news agency reported.

An unnamed local police spokesman told Fars that the two were in Zahedan, capital of the Sistan-Beluchistan province, and waiting to be delivered to Belgian diplomats.

The Belgian Foreign Ministry had on Tuesday night announced the release of the couple.

The two Belgians were abducted last Saturday by the criminal band led by Ismael Shahbakhsh, who in return for their safe release demanded the release of Shahbakhsh's brother from a local prison.

It was not clear whether local Iranian authorities followed the kidnappers' demand.

The young married couple was travelling by car from Kerman to neighbouring Sistan-Beluchistan province, which has seen several kidnappings in recent years.

In 2003, two Germans and an Irish citizen were abducted by bandit groups during a cycling trip near Zahedan but released after one month. It was unclear at that time whether ransom was paid.

The bandits in the area, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan, are usually also involved in drug-trafficking and use kidnapping operations in attempts to force the release of their members from prison.

DPA
Last Mod: 15 Ağustos 2007, 13:06
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