Oerlemans kidnap suspects released

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Three British men suspected of kidnapping Dutch press photographer Jeroen Oerlemans in Syria, go free. The prosecutor announced before a London court that Oerlemans and a second victim of the kidnapping could not act as witnesses.

The prosecutor gave no reason for the absence of the victims, but since the case completely relied on their testimony, he could bring no further evidence against the three defendants.

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Oerlemans and his British colleague John Cantlie were kidnapped in July 2012 when they were in Syria for a photo shoot . Muslim extremists held them prisoner for nine days.

During an escape attempt, they were shot and then cared for by a British speaking kidnapper. The Free Syrian Army eventually managed to free them. Oerlemans was shot in the left leg and Cantlie in the left arm during their escape attempt, Cantlie suffering ulnar nerve palsy (loss of feeling and use to the hand) as a result

One of the kidnappers was a British doctor. He was arrested at Heathrow Airport last fall. His brother and a third suspect were also arrested late last year. All three deny involvement in the kidnapping.

The judge declared the three innocent and they were immediately released.