BEIRUT: A Lebanese businessman kidnapped last week was released Sunday evening on Beirut’s airport road, without paying the $1 million ransom his kidnappers had demanded earlier. Raja Zuheiry, the owner of a gas station near Cola, was released after three days. “I was released this evening on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, the men told me,” Zuheiry said, adding that he took a taxi home from the airport. Zuheiry said that he did not know who his captors were, adding that even though the first night was difficult, “after that, things changed and I was treated with respect.” Zuheiry also criticized the police’s action on the night of his kidnapping and said “bullets [from the police] were flying around me and my life was endangered. If they want to stop the car they should shoot at the tires, not people’s heads.” Zuheiry called on the authorities to discover who was behind the kidnapping and who was responsible for the police’s “shameful mistake.” Following the release of their relative, the Zuheiry family issued a statement in which it thanked security bodies for the safe return of Raja. The family also thanked the security officers in Hezbollah and the Amal Movement and said that they hoped swift investigations will reveal the identity of the kidnappers.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 21, 2012, on page 4.