Report Ransom Demand for Two West German Hostages Increased
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ The kidnappers of two West Germans held in Lebanon have demanded $16.6 million ransom for the hostages, the Beirut newspaper An-Nahar reported today.
The independent daily cited no source in its brief report, which only said: ″the price of the two German hostages kidnapped in Lebanon has risen, since negotiations began for their release, from 2 million marks to more than 30 million marks.″
The West German hostages, Rudolf Cordes, 53, and Alfred Schmidt, 47, were abducted in Moslem west Beirut Jan. 17 and Jan. 20 respectively.
An-Nahar’s report was the first mention in the Lebanese media of ransom negotiations for their release.
A group calling itself Holy Fighters for Freedom said in a statement last Wednesday that it negotiated secretly with West Germany to trade the two West Germans for 23-year-old Mohammed Ali Hamadi.
Hamadi, a Lebanese Shiite Moslem, is being held in Frankfurt and is a suspect in the 1985 hijacking of a TWA jet in which a U.S. Navy diver was killed and Americans were held hostage for 17 days.
The West German government has rejected a request for Hamadi’s extradition to the United States for trial, saying it feared the West German hostages would be killed.
Also today, Omar Aleem, assistant secretary-general of the Union of Arab Journalists, called for the appointment of an international journalistic panel to investigate the kidnapping of American journalist Charles Glass.
″I have known Glass for years as a defender of the causes of justice and truth,″ Aleem said in the Beirut newspaper As-Safir.
Glass, 36, a former correspondent for ABC News, was kidnapped in south Beirut on June 17.
Nine Americans, including Associated Press chief Middle East correspondent Terry A. Anderson, six Frenchmen, two Britons, two West Germans, one Italian, one Irishman, one South Korean, an Indian and two unidentified foreigners are missing and presumed kidnapped in Lebanon.
Also missing is Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite. He disappeared after leaving a west Beirut hotel Jan. 20 to negotiate the release of hostages.