Yemen: the kidnapped Swiss woman is free

Bern, Press releases, 28.02.2013

The Swiss national who was abducted in Hodeida in Yemen in March 2012 was released on 27 February 2013. Representatives of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) are in direct contact with her. She is in good health considering the circumstances. She is now in a secure location and will return to Switzerland as soon as possible.

Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter held a telephone conversation with the woman on Wednesday evening in which he expressed his relief and pleasure at her release and wished her a safe journey back to Switzerland.

The woman, who was kidnapped on 13 March 2012 in Yemen, has been released on 27 February 2013.  The Swiss MFA expresses its deepest gratitude to the State of Qatar in particular to His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, and His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Heir Apparent, for all the efforts in negotiating the release of the hostage. According to the circumstances, she is in good health. She is currently being taken care of by representatives of the Swiss MFA and will return to Switzerland as soon as possible.
An inter-agency task force under the leadership of the Swiss MFA was established immediately after the news about the abduction. It was made up of representatives of the Swiss MFA, the Federal Police, the Intelligence Service of the Confederation, the Federal Prosecutors’ Office, as well as the competent cantonal police authorities.

For the immediate relatives of a kidnapping victim an abduction constitutes an event of utmost tragedy. Therefore, the Swiss MFA and the competent police authorities lent support to the family of the hostage during this difficult time.
The Swiss MOFA Has been in contact with the Qatari Authorities who have facilitated the negotiations of the release of the hostage. The Swiss Government expresses it utmost thanks to the State of Qatar for the effective handling  of the negotiations and to bringing the Swiss national to safety. In order to protect the privacy of the person concerned the Swiss MFA is not in a position to disclose further details.
For the former victims of an abduction, going back to normal is a long process. It should take place under the protection of close family members. The Swiss MFA appeals to the public and the media to respect the privacy of the former hostage, as well as of her family.


Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Fax: +41 58 464 90 47


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs