German hostage freed in Iraq

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

The German archaeologist Susanne Osthoff, who was abducted in Iraq on November 25th, has been freed.

Her brother told n-tv that she had been brought to the German embassy in Baghdad and is well. Foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier confirmed the reports and said that her Iraqi driver, who was abducted along with her, is still in the hands of the kidnappers but they have promised to release him as well.

How she was freed, whether ransom was paid, or even which group abducted her is still unknown at this time. Steinmeier declined to answer any questions on the topic.

The captors demanded that the German government breaks off diplomatic relations with Iraq, which it has refused to do.

Osthoff had been living in Iraq since 1991. She is a converted Muslim and married to a Jordanian. Her 12-year old daughter is living in Germany. In recent years Osthoff became more and more involved with delivering aid to the Iraqi people. She was featured on the front page of the New York Times in 2003 [1] and appeared in a series about her work in the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

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