|Date: 07/08/2012 Time: 10:44:00 PM
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi
on Tuesday asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to secure the release of a
number of Iranian pilgrims and aid workers kidnapped recently in Syria and
In a letter to Ban, Salehi drew Ban's attention to media reports indicating
the killing of three Iranian captives in Syria, who were among 48 Iranian
pilgrims reportedly abducted by the "Free Syrian Army" on their way to
Damascus Airport on 4 August 2012. He also expressed concern that the
kidnappers threatened to kill the remaining hostages in the coming hours.
Salehi also said that seven members of an Iranian Red Crescent Society
delegation, who were visiting Libya upon invitation of the Libyan Red
Crescent, were kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in Benghazi on 31 July.
"I would like to seek the cooperation and the good offices of Your
Excellency for securing the release of these hostages. The kind cooperation of
the relevant United Nations offices in responding to this request of
Government and the families of the hostages will be highly appreciated,"
Salehi said in his letter.
He said his government calls for the immediate release of the abducted
nationals and holds the kidnappers responsible for any loss of lives or
injury, reminding them that using hostages as human shields violates the
international law and human rights of these innocent civilians.
Asked to comment on the abduction, UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky told the
daily press briefing "it's obvious that that is a very serious situation and
obvious that anyone being held against his will should be freed as soon as
possible. That's not just for that group. There are others too, for example
the Lebanese citizens."