15 October 2012

Liberia: U.S. Kidnap Victim Finally Testified

United States citizen Christina Andrianopoulos appeared physically traumatized and frightened at the Monrovia City Court in Monrovia Friday when one of her alleged kidnappers David Orma Safanue sat beside her unexpectedly before her testimony.

Upon a glance at the "tall and giant-sized" driver sitting beside her, Miss Andrianopoulos fled from her seat and sat strictly into the crowd where some of her sympathizers were seated. She rested (lied back) on one of the ladies usually accompanying her to court for nearly 10 minutes, taking deep breath as sweat pulled out of her body.

After being fanned for few minutes and taking in a bottle of water, the kidnap victim subsequently appeared before Magistrate Nelson B. Chinneh and identified defendant David Orma Safunue as the driver, who picked her up from the Roberts International Airport (RIA) upon arrival here from the U.S. on September 23, 2012.

"The driver said he was to escort me to Bright Stryker [the business man she came to in Liberia]; he took my suitcase, brought it to his vehicle and said sit at the back seat," Andrianopoulos testified.

She said upon sitting in the car, defendant David introduced her to his accomplice, sitting in the front seat of the car and drove her away from the RIA for some 45 minutes.

"...After 45 minutes' drive from the RIA, he took the right, and then about 10 minutes I was in a remote area, climbing and sloping down [rocky] hills into a very dark car," said Andrianpoulos. She said the car finally landed at a house into the remote place, and a large number of men came, pointing gun at her head and pushing her into the house.

Andrianopoulos testified, "The second man pushed me into the room and my nightmare began. My nightmare lasted for three days; I was kept in a very small room with big and dark cloth hung to the window."

While in the small dark room, the US citizen said she was tied to a chair, stripped naked and beaten for three days.. She said her kidnappers demanded US$5m or they would kill her early Wednesday, [September 26, 2012].

She however said one of the young kidnappers pitied her condition and helped her to flee the area. The Justice Ministry here had requested Andrianopoulo to testify before the court before departing Liberia.

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