Libyan Leader Urges Moslems to Release Hostages
ROME (AP) _ Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi urged Moslems to celebrate their holy month of Ramadan by releasing foreign hostages held in the Middle East, Libya’s official news agency said today.
Col. Gadhafi specifically mentioned Jacqueline Valente, a Frenchwoman captured on a yacht off Cyprus in 1987 by Abu Nidal’s Libyan-backed Fatah- Revolutionary Council, the JANA news agency report said.
Gadhafi appealed to ″Moslems the world over in his capacity as the leader of the international Islamic People’s Command calling for releasing the hostages and prisoners of conscience on the advent of the blessed month of Ramadan - the month of love and tolerance,″ said JANA, monitored in Rome.
Ramadan began in late March.
The JANA dispatch said Gadhafi stressed Islamic humanitarian values and called for refraining from detaining innocent people.
″He has called to mind the hostages in the Middle East of various nationalities and religions, in particular the French hostage,″ Jacqueline Valente. She was captured along with her two daughters and five Belgians. The Abul Nidal group claimed they were Israeli spies. Her whereabouts are unknown.
The children, then aged 7 and 6, were freed in December 1988, reportedly after Gadhafi intervened.
After their release, Gadhafi urged ″liberation movements in the Middle East″ to free the rest of the hostages. The group has not been included on the list of Western hostages held in Lebanon.
Eighteen Westerners, including eight Americans, are missing and presumed held captive. The longest held is Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent of The Associated Press.
He was kidnapped in Beirut on March 16, 1985.