Man jailed for kidnapping daughters in Lebanon
A court in the canton of Saint Gallen on Thursday jailed a 48-year-old man for six years for kidnapping his two teenaged daughters and confining them in Lebanon, his home country, for nearly two years.
The convicted man, a naturalized Swiss citizen and unemployed construction worker, lured his wife and four children to the Middle East country in September 2019 for a family wedding, according to an online report from 20 Minuten newspaper.
Once in his home town of Baalbek, he seized the passports, airline tickets and mobile phones of his family and told them they were going to stay in Lebanon for two years, the report said, citing testimony from the Rheintal regional court in Altstätten.
Three weeks later, the man’s wife was allowed to leave, along with the couple’s 11- and 17-year-old sons.
But he refused to allow the 13-year-old and 16-year-old girls to depart, 20 Minuten said.
He repeatedly beat the eldest daughter and threatened her with forced marriage, while frequently threatening to kill both of them or to take them to Iran.
The girls were trapped in a village in a region dominated by Hezbollah and did not know whether they would ever be able to return to Switzerland, 20 Minuten said.
Authorities only managed to return the daughters to Switzerland in April 2011, 19 months after the kidnapping, the court was told.
According the evidence, the defendant, a 30-year resident of Switzerland, was dependant on social assistance.
The victim’s lawyer said the now adult daughters remained traumatized and suffer from panic attacks even four years after ending their 600-day ordeal, 20 Minuten reported.
The court ordered their father to pay 18,000 francs to one girl and 24,000 francs to the other to compensate for their suffering.
He was ordered to pay his wife a further 15,000 francs.
A claim for damages amounting to several hundred thousand francs has been referred to a civil court.