Mauritania kidnapper calls Spanish hostage as witness

11th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Lawyers for a man convicted of kidnapping three Spaniards in Mauritania called Wednesday one of the hostages, who has been freed, to be a witness at his appeal.

Alicia Gamez was freed in March after three months in captivity at the hands of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Gamez, who was working for a Barcelona-based NGO, was kidnapped north of the Mauritanian capital on November 29 along with Roque Pascual and Albert Vilalta, who remain in captivity.

"We require the presence of this woman who can legitimately tell the truth regarding our client and confirm his innocence," the lawyer of Omar Sid'Ahmed Ould Hamma, a Malian national known as "Omar the Sahrawi", said in court.

The prosecution replied that "nobody is required to do the impossible", saying that Gamez would not be forced to return the country where she was kidnapped.

The defence threatened to walk off the case unless their demand was met, prompting the court to retire to consider it.

A ruling is expected Wednesday.

Hamma was convicted of orchestrating the kidnapping and was jailed for 12 years in late July.

© 2010 AFP

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