Pakistan

Two Czech women kidnapped in Pakistan in 2013 freed: official

PRAGUE: Two young Czech women kidnapped in Pakistan in 2013 have been freed and are now in the Czech Republic, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Saturday.

“I can confirm that Hana Humpalova and Antonie Chrastecka have already returned to the Czech Republic,” Sobotka told the CT24 news channel.

He added the two 26-year-old women were freed with the help of the Turkish Muslim humanitarian organisation IHH.

“I would like to ask the media to respect the private life of the women,” Sobotka added.

Humpalova and Chrastecka, both psychology students, were kidnapped on March 13, 2013 in Baluchistan while being escorted by a tribal policeman after crossing into Pakistan from Iran on holiday.

In a video released shortly after the kidnapping, the two young Czechs pleaded for the release of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, jailed in 2010 in the United States on charges of terrorist links.

In another video shot in August 2013 and released two months later, they bemoaned their situation and asked the Czech government to help them.

Chrastecka pleaded with the Czech government to exert pressure on the Pakistani government to return her to her homeland “as soon as possible”.

Kidnappings plague parts of Baluchistan and northwest Pakistan, where criminals looking for ransoms snatch foreigners and locals, sometimes passing their hostages on to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked groups. -AFP

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