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1ST LEAD Slovakia threatens Vietnam with diplomatic measures over abduction By Christoph Thanei, dpa

Europe
02.10.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Bratislava (dpa) - Slovakia has threatened to take diplomatic measures against Vietnam in response to the kidnapping of a Vietnamese businessman last year, a newspaper reported.

"Should our suspicion be confirmed that a Vietnamese delegation misused a visit to Slovakia in order to abduct one of its own citizens, this will have serious diplomatic consequences," Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini told Wednesday‘s edition of the Pravda daily.

Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak has already made this clear to his Vietnamese counterparts, Pellegrini said, according to the report.

Vietnamese businessman Trinh Xuan Thanh was seized in Berlin along with a female companion in July 2017. He was taken back to Vietnam, where he subsequently received two life sentences for corruption in two separate cases.

The German government claims that Vietnamese agents kidnapped Thanh after he sought political asylum. A 47-year-old man who played a part in the kidnapping was handed a prison sentence by a Berlin court in July. He had been arrested in the Czech Republic.

According to Slovak media, an aeroplane that had been loaned to the Vietnamese visitors by the Foreign Ministry in Bratislava was used to bring Thanh back to Vietnam.

Slovakia‘s public prosecutor has reportedly opened an investigation into the country‘s own involvement in the kidnapping, probing as high up as the former Slovak interior minister, Robert Kalinak.

The head of the state‘s personal protection services has also been suspended for the duration of the investigation.

Slovak newspaper Dennik K previously reported that two police officers had seen a man, suspected to be Thanh, being pulled onto a government plane in Bratislava. According to the newspaper, the two officers have now provided formal testimony to investigators.

 

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