The incident in which five Czechs have gone missing in Lebanon is linked to the case of Ali Fayad, a Lebanese who was previously arrested in Prague over suspected aid to terrorists and is waiting for extradition to the USA, the Czech and Lebanese media write today.
One of the five missing Czechs assisted as the interpreter and another was probably a defense lawyer in the Prague court proceedings against Fayad, a Lebanese of Ukrainian citizenship, and his two accomplices coming from Ivory Coast, Czech tabloid Blesk writes without specifying its source of information.
Vladimir Ricica, a Czech defense lawyer whose office represents Fayad, has told CTK that his client is shocked by the Lebanon incident and “absolutely rules out any connection between the disappearance of the missing persons and his family.”
In the Czech Republic, Fayad strives for nothing but just court proceedings, Ricica said.
He said the lawyer who is among the five Czechs who may have been kidnapped has visited Lebanon repeatedly to secure documents for Fayad´s defense.
The Voice of Lebanon radio, on its part, reported that the driver of the taxi in which the five Czechs travelled and which was found abandoned in the Bekaa Valley, east Lebanon, on Saturday, is Fayad´s brother Saib Munir Taan, 50.
His family members have confirmed this, Voice of Lebanon said.
In the abandoned taxi, the police found baggage with a cash sum, passports and video cameras belonging to the missing Czechs. The driver disappeared as well.
According to the Lebanese NNA agency, unknown militants evidently kidnapped the Czechs in an effort to have them exchanged for Fayad.
The Czech Foreign Ministry would not comment on the “media speculations,” in view of the ongoing search for the missing persons.
“If any progress occurs within the case, the ministry will inform [the public] about it,” its spokeswoman Michaela Lagronova told CTK.
She said the ministry´s emergency team, which discussed the situation on Saturday, will meet on Tuesday morning again.
The Czech security services are dealing with the case. Counter-intelligence service (BIS) spokesman Jan Subert said the relevant information is classified and cannot be released to the media.
According to CTK´s information from sources close to security services, they work with several versions of the case. The common denominator of all is the possibility that the kidnapping is really connected with Fayad and his detention in the Czech Republic.
The USA accuses Fayad and his accomplices Faouzi Jaber and Khaled Marabi that they wanted to sell weapons and cocaine to U.S. agents who passed themselves off for members of the Colombian FARC terrorist organisation.
All three plead not guilty.
A Czech court previously nodded to their extradition to the USA, where they could face life imprisonment.
This June, the Czech appeals court scrapped the decision on the extradition of the three, saying that the USA has not provided sufficient guarantees for the men not to be subjected to inhuman treatment in the U.S. prison.
The lower-level court will therefore have to ask the USA to specify its guarantees.
The extradition would finally require the consent from the Czech justice minister.
UPDATE : The name of the driver is not Saib Munir Taan as has been widely reported.
His name is Saib Fayad
and he is not a taxi driver …he is employed at the Telecommunication company Ojero and knows all the Czechs well
He is the brother of Ali Fayad, who was arrested in Prague and the United States accused him of collaborating with terrorists. He is wanted along with the two arrested accomplices for selling weapons and drugs.