- - Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Danish family released by Somali pirates

COPENHAGEN | A Danish yachting family held hostage by Somali pirates for more than six months has been released and is returning home after enduring “the most horrible ordeal one can imagine,” government officials said.

Jan Quist Johansen, wife Birgit Marie and their three teenage children were captured along with two Danish crew members on Feb. 24 as their 43-foot yacht was seized by pirates in the Indian Ocean.

All seven “were released Tuesday and are doing well under the circumstances,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Charlotte Slente said. “They are in a plane on their way to Denmark.”

She declined to comment further on the circumstances of the release and wouldn’t say whether a ransom had been paid.

The Johansens, from Kalundborg, 75 miles west of Copenhagen, were on a round-the-world journey when they approached the pirate-infested waters off the Horn of Africa.

Their travel blog showed they were aware of the dangers, but didn’t expect to get into trouble, and were comforted by the sight of anti-piracy forces patrolling the vast area.


Military ruler summoned in Mubarak trial

CAIRO | The chief judge in the trial of ousted President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday summoned high-profile witnesses, including Egypt’s military ruler, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, to testify.

Judge Ahmed Refaat said that Field Marshal Tantawi and other top officials, some of them still serving, would give their evidence behind closed doors for reasons of “national security.”

He said Field Marshal Tantawi would testify on Sunday followed by the chief of the general staff, Sami Anan, on Monday and the former intelligence chief and vice president, Gen. Omar Suleiman, on Tuesday.

Interior Minister Mansur al-Essawi and a predecessor, Mahmud Wagdi, will give evidence on Sept. 14 and 15, respectively, he added.

Journalists will not be allowed in the courtroom, said the judge, who also imposed a gag order on the star witnesses’ testimony.

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