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Iran: Ex-hostages claim have no information on kidnappers' identity

The newly released German and Irish hostages, who were officially handed over to their related authorities at Tehran International Airport said Monday they had no information on the identity of the hostage takers, IRNA reported from Tehran.

photo: ISNA

Irish Aidan James Leahy and German Oliver Brug said in separate interviews with IRNA that they had been found by the Iranian police blinded-folded and in a car. They said they had no information on the identity of the hostage takers.

Asked to comment on their kidnapping, they said when they were taken hostage they had been taken to a desert in a car, from where they were driven to an unknown place -- Iran, Pakistan or Afghanistan.

"We were handed over to the Iranian police; I just like to take this opportunity to thank the Iranian government, the Iranian police, the Irish Embassy, the German Embassy for what they have one for our release," said Leahy when asked about the quality of their release.

"We were never sure where we were. We were told many stories -- Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran," said Leahy. "They said they were Talibans linked to al-Qaeda. They tried to confuse us, we were never sure who they were," he added.

"We were taken by car and they then handed (us) over to police... blind-folded," said Leahy in response to a question on the quality of his release and the identity of the hostage takers.

When asked how the hostage takers treated him and other hostages, Leahy said, "We were treated very well by our captors."

Leahy immediately added that that obviously there had been a lot of mental distress, but physically they had not been harmed. "We were blind-folded and saw nothing," said Brug.

"I don't know; I really don't know," said Brug when asked about the identity of the hostage takers -- whether they were Iranian or non-Iranian-- and the language they were speaking.

When asked to comment how the hostage takers contended to release him and the two other hostages without receiving any ransom, Brug said, "I don't know. I do not have any information about any deal between the government and the kidnappers."

"We were kept in one room," said Brug when asked where the hostages were kept.

Leahy, Brug and his compatriot David Storm, who declined to give any interview at the meeting, were kidnapped around December 2 by bandits while cycling near Nosrat Abad, on the road between the ancient city of Bam, which was devastated by a killer earthquake Friday, and Zahedan near the border with Pakistan.

The hostage-takers had demanded a five-million-euro (six-million- dollar) ransom.

... Payvand News - 12/29/03 ... --

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