Dutch couple released in Yemen

Judith Spiegel, who reports for multiple Dutch outlets in Yemen, and her husband, Boudewijn Berendsen, were released six months after being taken hostage by an unknown group, the Dutch and Yemeni governments said in a joint statement on December 10, 2013.

The statement did not specify the exact date of their release, but another statement from the Dutch government said the couple had been released the weekend of December 7, 2013.

On December 10, 2013, Spiegel posted on a Facebook page dedicated to the couple’s release: “Yes yes yes we are free! We are very fine. We will contact you all soon, but for now: thank you so so so much for all the support.”

According to the joint statement, the Dutch couple was abducted in the capital city of Sana’a on June 8, 2013. But a June 15, 2013, article published by Agence France-Presse said the couple was last seen on June 12, 2013. 

A month after their kidnapping, the couple appeared in a YouTube video, saying their captors would kill them in 10 days if their demands were not met, news reports said. The demands were not specified in the video.

It is not clear why Spiegel and Berendsen were released, but in their statement, the Dutch government thanked the Yemeni government for its “role in securing the hostages’ release.” News reports said the Dutch government denies paying ransom to free nationals who are held hostage.

The couple was expected to return to the Netherlands on December 11, 2013, the joint statement said.