Kidnapped Landsmeer man released

Wendel Meijer, abducted in Zaandam on 5 July 2016 . (Wendel Meijer, abducted in Zaandam on 5 July 2016 (Photo: Politie))

Wendel Meijer, kidnapped from Zaandam on July 5th, was released, his lawyer Sebas Diekstra and his siblings announced on Thursday night. According to his sister, Meijer was assaulted during his time in captivity, AD reports.

The police confirmed the 36-year-old Landsmeer man's release on Twitter. But a spokesperson for the Noord-Holland police could not tell AD how Meijer is doing, where he is now and what happened during his time as a hostage. "Everything is being checked at this time, we can't say anything yet", the spokesperson said.

Meijer was kidnapped from his office building in Zaandam last week Tuesday. Surveillance camera footage shows three men forcing him into a white Audi and driving off.

On RTL Boulevard Meijer's sister said that he was assaulted. "I've seen him. He's in bad shape. He doesn't talk, he's in shock and you can see visible abuse."

Diekstra asked the media to leave the family alone so that they can deal with this tough time in peace. "I would like to make an  urgent appeal to everyone to grant the family the rest they need to process everything", Diekstra said, according to AD.

Earlier on Thursday 21-year-old Soufyan Essabaouni was also released. He was kidnapped from a parking lot in Zwanenburg on July 7th, the police believe by the same people who kidnapped Meijer. The young Amsterdam man's family think he was taken by mistake, as he was driving his uncle's car at the time. And the uncle is a known associate of Meijer.

According to Metro Nieuws, Essabaouni hasn't yet been able to tell the police what happened. AD report that he is physically fine, but in shock.

The police believe that a conflict in the criminal world is behind these abductions, possibly a drug deal gone wrong - a so-called rip deal. A third kidnapping was linked to this case by the police and the Telegraaf reports that a fourth abduction may also be involved.