Dutch Worried About the Fate of Arjan Erkel in Dagestan

Six months ago Dutchman Arjan Erkel was kidnapped in the Russian republic of Dagestan. After he disappeared nothing was heard from him or his kidnappers again, leaving his family and the organization Artsen zonder Grenzen (Mйdecins Sans Frontiиre) he is working for desperate. With an Internet petition for Russian president Putin and the president of Dagestan Magomedov they call on both political leaders to do everything in their power to help Arjan Erkel.

Arjan Erkel was coordinator for Mйdecins Sans Frontiиres in Makhachkala in Dagestan. He was kidnapped by unidentified armed men during his work on August 12, 2002. This came right after another kidnap, that of Nina Davydovitsj of the Russian aid organization Druzjba. She was released in January this year. In the six months between the kidnap of Erkel and today no life sign or ransom demand was received. Mйdecins Sans Frontiиres calls upon the kidnappers to free Erkel as soon as possible. To protest the kidnap of the 32 year old Dutchmen an Internet petition is available and more than 120.000 people already signed. In the petition the family and the aid organization ask the help of Putin and Magomedov for a speedily resolve of the situation. “We ask everybody who can aid in the in this case to help us”, the father of Erkel recently said during a press conference. He especially asked Russian authorities to do everything in their power to help his son. His sister Roos Erkel asks everybody to sign the petition.

Arjan Erkel is an experienced worker for Artsen zonder Grenzen, an organization which sends out skilled medical personnel to regions in the world where there is need for them. He already had spells in Uganda, Tadjikistan and Sierra Leone before coming to Dagestan for the Swiss branch of the organization. He is described as a man with the hart on the right place dedicated to helping people.

The case of Arjan Erkel has made international organization worries that a man that came to help was kidnapped instead. The European Union and European Parliament called for the release of Erkel and a number of famous people like soccer star Ruud Gullit, tennis player Richard Krajicek , former Dutch Secretary of State Hans van Mierlo and most Dutch politicians who are involved in foreign policy ask of Putin an Magomedov to give top priority to this worrying case and ask those who control the fate of Erkel to let him go. Till that moment those involved are dedicated not to let Arjan Erkel slip into the unknown.

Richard Wagenaar Netherlands Special to PRAVDA.Ru

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