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Czech Government 'Paid Ransom' For Two Women Kidnapped In Pakistan

Media reports claim the Czech government paid a $6 million ransom to kidnappers to secure the release last year of two Czech women abducted in Pakistan.

The weekly Respekt magazine reported on February 7 that negotiations with the kidnappers on the payment of a ransom were carried out by the Czech State's Security Council.

Czech students Hana Humpalova and Antonie Chrastecka were seized by armed men in March 2013 in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan Province, near the borders with Afghanistan and Iran.

The pair, both 24 at the time, had entered Pakistan from Iran as tourists.

In a video released shortly after their kidnapping, the women had pleaded for the release of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, jailed in 2010 in the United States on charges of terrorist links.

The Czech government announced the women's release and return to Prague on March 28, 2015, after two years in captivity.

The AFP news agency quoted government spokesman Martin Ayrer as saying Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka "will not be commenting on this report."

Based on reporting by AFP and TASS

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