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Egyption Tour Guide Sentenced

August 16, 2001

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ An Egyptian court sentenced a tour guide Thursday to 15 years in prison with hard labor for holding four German tourists hostage in southern Egypt in an attempt to force his estranged German wife to return his sons to him.

Ibrahim Ali el-Sayyed Moussa invited the Germans to his house in the southern city of Luxor in March and drugged them before detaining them for four days and threatening to kill them. He eventually surrendered to police, who found the hostages _ friends from eastern Saxony-Anhalt _ bound with plastic inside his home.

Moussa, who also was charged with possessing an unlicensed weapon and bullets, had pleaded innocent; prosecutors had sought a life sentence.

Moussa’s wife, whom he married in 1991, had changed the last names and religion of their sons, aged 7 and 3, and had taken them to Germany a year and a half earlier.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press during the standoff, Moussa said he regretted threatening to kill the Germans and only wanted to draw attention to his problem.

One of the hostages, Christoph Paning of Muenster, Germany, later said the four were not assaulted and were untied at times, permitted to walk in the apartment, use the bathroom and _ on the last night _ sleep.

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