|Top: Marie Jeanne Ion;|
Center:Sorin Dumitru Miscoci;
An American, Mohammed Monaf, has been indicted in Romania for being complicit in the hostage taking of three Romanians
on March 29, 2005. It seems it may have all been a plot to make one of the richest men in Romania, Omar Hayssam, a national hero.
The Jawa Report has some information on the indictment but warns:
As we cautioned then, though, such conspiracy theories abound in former Eastern block and developing countries. We therefore urged caution in blaming someone who was a hostage victim as being involved in the crime. However, the issuing of the indictment for Monaf seals what were already deep suspicions that the naturalized American was somehow involved.
Adi e-mailed me about this several days ago. I postponed doing a post on this until it hit the MSM in the US. As of today, this is getting little to no US press coverage. Why is that? An American citizen is taken hostage in Iraq, released, and then is found to have been part of the plot to take journalists hostage? Outrageous!!
Transitions Online (Czech)
The day after the hostages returned to their families, Bucharest officials issued arrest warrants for Omar Hayssam and Mohammad Munaf. They could face between 10 and 15 years in prison for their role in the abduction if convicted. Munaf is still in U.S. custody; Hayssam has been in jail since April, charged with various financial felonies.
The Antena 1 TV station reported that Munaf’s brother and two brothers-in-law had been arrested in Baghdad together with one of Hayssam’s brothers, all in connection with the journalists’ case. Mohammed Shamil, the President of the Iraqi-Romanian Friendship League, told the daily Jurnalul National that 88 people had been arrested in this case in Iraq, of whom 42 remained in custody.
According to the Romanian General Prosecutor’s Office, Omar Hayssam’s bizarre plot was to unblock his bank accounts – frozen as part of an unrelated financial investigation – pay a fictitious ransom, and become, when the hostages were released, a “national hero.” The investigators said he was hoping all his previous crimes would then be forgiven. But they also discovered that Hayssam had been financing several Sunni terrorist organizations, though they did not specify which organizations.
An anonymous Arab businessman based in Romania was quoted by the daily Averea as saying, “Munaf got involved in the kidnapping at Hayssam’s order… Munaf is Hayssam’s servant more than his partner.”
Hayssam has rejected all the accusations. He said Munaf organized the trip in order to impress the Iraqi authorities, since he was planning to bid for a public tender for the procurement of 25,000 tons of sugar. “I only put him in touch with the journalists. I didn’t pay for the trip, and I didn’t plan the abduction,” Hayssam told investigating magistrates.
Munaf’s wife, Georget, told Romanian media her husband wanted to go to Iraq to do business and to see his relatives there.
The first rumors regarding Hayssam’s and Munaf’s involvement in the affair started circulating immediately after the kidnapping. Omar Hayssam, a prominent Syrian-Romanian businessman whose $100 million in assets puts him on the list of the 300 wealthiest Romanians, compiled by the magazine Capital, claimed on 30 March that the kidnappers had called him to demand a ransom of $4 million.
Tipped by: The Jawa Report