Alleged Kidnappers Correct Frenchman’s Name With PM-Lebanon-Kidnap
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ An underground group issued statements correcting the identity of a Frenchman it claims to have kidnapped in Beirut and saying it will try him for espionage along with an abducted American.
The Revolutionary Justice Organization, believed made up of pro-Iranian Shiite Moslems, left two notes Thursday night at the doorstep of a Western news agency in west Beirut.
The organization on Wednesday claimed responsibility for kidnapping American accountant Joseph Cicippio, 56, in west Beirut and said it was holding a Frenchman whose abduction had not been reported previously.
The claim was made in a handwritten Arabic statement delivered to the independent newspaper an-Nahar, and identified the Frenchman as Marcel Coudry. The statement claimed the man worked for the French secret counterterrorism department.
It also included two photographs of the men it said it was holding. Cicippio’s wife later confirmed that one of the photos was that of her husband.
In response to the reports, a French Foreign Ministry spokesman on Wednesday revealed that a French citizen named Marcel Khodari, who had been living in Beirut, disappeared in February.
Today, in one note written in French, the French hostage purportedly wrote his name as Marcel Michel Marie Coudari, and gave his age as 54. Another note, in Arabic, claimed the hostage was a French intelligence agent. There was no immediate comment from French officials.
″Enclosed is a note in the handwriting of the hostage, giving his name and the address of his children in France,″ the handwritten note in Arabic said.
″We emphasize that Marcel Coudry or Coudari is a Frenchman working for the counterterrorism sector of the French intelligence with Swiss commandant Rene De Fagaud,″ said the terse note. It was dated Sept. 25, 1986.
The organization has said the Frenchman will be tried for purported espionage activities alongside Joseph Cicippio, of the Norristown, Pa. area, who was kidnapped Sept. 12 from the campus of the American University, where he worked as acting comptroller.
Another group, the Arab Revolutionary Cells-Omar Moukhtar Forces, claimed Sept. 14 that it kidnapped Cicippio and American educator Frank Herbert Reed, who was seized by gunmen who intercepted his car in west Beirut on Sept. 9.
However, it did not provide photographs of the men in captivity to support its claim.