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Ministry rejects money claim by Czechs kidnapped in Lebanon

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Prague, Jan 18 (CTK) – The Czech Interior Ministry has rejected a compensation claim by four out of five Czechs kidnapped in Lebanon, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec tweeted on Wednesday, adding that responsibility should be shouldered by the trip organisers, not the Czech state.

The four kidnapped men demanded a compensation of 40 million crowns.

They disappeared in the Lebanese Bekaa Valley in July 2015. They returned to the Czech Republic in early February 2016.

They claimed that the secret services could have averted the kidnapping.

Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) said in the past already that the state exerted maximum effort for their return home.

Translator Adam Homsi, lawyer Jan Svarc and journalists Miroslav Dobes and Pavel Kofron wrote in their application that the state failed in dealing with the kidnapping, according to previous information by Czech Radio.

They wrote that if the secret services had cooperated better, the incident would not have occurred.

According to them, the civilian intelligence had the information that a revenge for the arrest of Lebanese agent Ali Fayad is being prepared. The United States asked the Czech Republic to extradite Fayad. Svarc was his lawyer.

On the day the five Czechs returned home, Fayad was released from custody in the Czech Republic. The United States suspected him of having links to a terrorist organisation.

Shortly afterwards, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) confirmed for the media that the five Czechs were released on condition that the Czech Republic does not extradite Fayad to the United States.

The compensation claim was not signed by military agent Martin Psik.

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