PRAGUE (Web Desk) – The Czech government paid a $6 million (5.4-million-euro) ransom to secure the release of two women kidnapped in Pakistan, the Respekt weekly reports in its Monday edition.
Czech psychology students Hana Humpalova and Antonie Chrastecka, both 24 at the time, were seized by armed men in March 2013 in Balochistan near the shared borders with Afghanistan and Iran.
The pair had entered from Iran as tourists and were escorted into Pakistan by a tribal policeman, local media reported.
In a video released shortly after their kidnapping, the two young women had pleaded for the release of Aafia Siddiqui, jailed in 2010 in the United States.
After two years in captivity, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka announced the women’s release and return to Prague on March 28, 2015.
Negotiations with the kidnappers on the payment of a ransom were carried out by the Czech state’s security council, according to Respekt.
“The talks weren’t easy, but in the end, none of us wanted to assume responsibility for the death of two young girls,” the weekly quoted an anonymous participant in the negotiations as saying. “The decision to hand over the ransom was taken unanimously,” the source added.