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UNRWA Appeals to Kidnappers on Anniversary of Collett’s Abduction

March 25, 1988

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ A U.N. relief agency today appealed to the kidnappers of British journalist Alec Collett to free him on the third anniversary of his abduction.

Collett, a New York-based journalist, was kidnapped in Beirut’s Moslem sector on March 25, 1985 while on assignment for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

A group calling itself the Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Moslems claimed responsibility. The group is believed to be linked to the Fatah- Revolutionary Council, a radical Palestinian faction led by Abu Nidal.

″We call on those who unjustifiably kidnapped the innocent Alec Collett to let him return to his family immediately,″ said Per Olof Hallqvist of Sweden, director of UNRWA in Lebanon.

″Our recent experience of the kidnapping of William Jorgensen and Jan Stening has reminded us about the inhuman horrors and anxieties which the families of the kidnap victims have to go through,″ Hallqvist said in the English-langua ge statement.

Stening, 44, a Swede, and Jorgensen, 58, a Norwegian, were kidnapped by Palestinians near the southern port city of Sidon on Feb. 5. Both worked for UNRWA. They were released March 1 after UNRWA, which takes care of Palestinian refugees, threatened to cut its services in Lebanon.

Collett’s kidnappers have demanded the release of three Fatah Revolutionary Council members imprisoned in Britain for the attempted 1985 assassination of Israel’s ambassador to London at that time, Shlomo Argov.

The kidnappers claimed April 23, 1986, that they had killed Collett,66, in retaliation for British support for U.S. air raids on Libya several days earlier.

The group later issued a videotape showing a body it said was Collett’s hanging from a makeshift scaffold. But Collett’s body has never been found.

In all, 22 foreigners are missing in Lebanon, including nine Americans. The longest-held foreign captive is Terry Anderson, 40, chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press. He was kidnapped in west Beirut March 16, 1985. The pro-Iranian Islamic Jihad, or Islamic Holy War, claims to hold him.

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