Swiss couple kidnapped in Pakistan appear in videos

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 25, 2011 6:28 PM
Swiss couple kidnapped in Pakistan appear in videos

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - A Swiss couple abducted in July from Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province by the Pakistani Taliban appeared in two videos released Tuesday, pleading for their lives.

Pakistan's Taliban have claimed responsibility for kidnapping the couple who were seized from the Loralai district of southwestern Baluchistan province on July 1. Pakistani media have identified them as Olivier David Och, 31, and Daniela Widmer, 29.

In the first video, the male hostage addressed the Pakistani, Swiss and American governments in English, asking them to release Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist imprisoned in the United States, and Taliban fighters in Pakistan's custody.

"When you don't do these things, it is possible we will die," the man said.

The man then held up a copy of a newspaper published in Peshawar, dated August 13, 2011.

In the second video, the kidnapped couple, speaking in German, held up a newspaper dated September 15, and were seen sitting outdoors with four militants behind them. Three of the militants held assault rifles.

The videos, given to Reuters by a resident of North Waziristan, could not be independently authenticated. The video in German is also available on YouTube.

On July 29, deputy Pakistani Taliban leader Wali-ur-Rehman demanded the release of 38-year-old neuroscientist Siddiqui in exchange for the couple's freedom.

Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years in jail by a U.S. judge in September 2010 after she was convicted of shooting at FBI agents and soldiers following her arrest in Afghanistan.

(Reporting by Saud Mehsud; Writing by Qasim Nauman; Editing by Chris Allbritton)