Spain police free kidnapped man, detain 10 French nationals

MADRID - Police in Spain said Tuesday they freed a young Spaniard kidnapped and held for a ransom of 35,000 euros (S$55,000) for six days in southern Spain, and arrested ten French nationals.

A statement said police raided a villa in the mountain town of Benahavis near the southern resort of Marbella on August 18 where they found the 27-year-old in the living room watched over by seven French nationals of Pakistani and Algerian origin.

"The victim had facial injuries when he was rescued and he told officers that he had been threatened constantly during his captivity and had been watched over permanently," the police statement said.

Police detained the seven French captors, 18 to 28, who were at the villa at the time of the raid.

They also arrested a French couple who turned up there after the raid and tried to flee on seeing officers at the scene.

"Following a chase, and after hitting several police cars, they were finally intercepted and detained," the statement said.

Police said another French national was detained a day after the raid on suspicion of involvement in the kidnapping.

Police opened their investigation after family members of the victim reported that he had been kidnapped in Mijas, a small inland town near Marbella, and that his abductors were threatening to kill him unless they received 35,000 euros in ransom.

Officers found seven kilos (15 pounds) of marijuana and 250 fake 50-euro bills inside the villa.

The 10 French nationals have been charged with kidnapping, drug trafficking and membership of an organised crime group.

Spain's proximity to Morocco, the top source of hashish consumed in Europe, have made it the main gateway to the continent for the drug.

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