Relatives kidnap impaired brother, sister for over 8 months


THESSALONIKI, Greece — Greek police say a brother and sister were held prisoner by relatives for over eight months near the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki and forced, under threats of violence, to transfer large amounts to their captors’ bank accounts.

Police say a 58-year-old Greek man, his 23-year-old daughter and an unnamed accomplice were arrested Friday night over the abduction of a man, 47, and a woman, 48, the older suspect’s cousins, beginning July 27 in the city of Serres, east of Thessaloniki.

The two captives, whom police officers describe as “cognitively impaired,” were forcibly held at the man’s house and were restrained with handcuffs and flexicuffs most of the time. They were forced to transfer 81,000 euros ($100,000) to their captors’ accounts.

The brother took advantage of his captors’ temporary absence from the house Friday and called a police emergency number over a landline phone. He told police he hadn’t called before because he was afraid the call wouldn’t go through.

The two had spoken with relatives over the months but failed to tell them about their circumstances, saying instead they were on various trips.

The brother told police he was taken to bank branches by his cousin and was forced to make the transactions under threat of violence to him and his sister. The money came from the savings of the abducted pair’s dead parents, both farmers.

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This story corrects the detention time to over eight months.

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