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Kidnapping Couple Sentenced For Snatching Five-Year-Old Sahil Saeed In 2010

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SAHIL SAEED
Sahil was abducted by four men with assault rifles in Punjab in 2010 | PA

A married couple have been sentenced by a Spanish court to 10 years in jail each for kidnapping a five-year-old British boy.

A panel of three judges at the Provincial Court in Tarragona found Muhammad Zahid Saleem and Gianina Monica Neruja guilty of snatching Sahil Saeed, of Oldham, at gunpoint in Pakistan in March 2010.

The court heard that Saleem and Neruja had made threatening calls to Sahil's family and travelled to Paris to collect the £110,000 ransom from one of his uncles.

Their Pakistani flatmate, Khawaja Fawaaz Munawar, was found not guilty of kidnap of a minor and conspiracy.

Khawaja, who was living in Spain as an illegal immigrant when he was arrested, was charged under the name Muhammad Sageiz.

Sahil was snatched by an armed gang at his grandmother's home during a holiday with his father in Jhelum, in Pakistan's Punjab province.

Four masked men carrying AK-47 assault rifles and grenades tied up and beat members of the family and ransacked the house before making off with the child.

An international police operation was launched and Sahil was released in Pakistan after the £110,000 ransom was dropped off by his uncle, Tauseer Ahmed, in Paris and collected by Saleem and Neruja.

During Sahil's 13-day ordeal, Saleem made phone calls warning the boy's family that he would be killed and parts of his body would be sent to them if they did not pay the ransom.

Neruja instructed Sahil's father, Raja Naqqash Saeed, to travel to Paris with the ransom money and warned him not to make any "mistakes" or else "everything would turn out bad" for his son.

It was finally decided that Sahil's uncle, Mr Ahmed, would take the money to Paris, where he was accompanied by officers from Greater Manchester Police and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

Spanish police recovered £103,690 and €3,650 in addition to a lamp used to recognise counterfeit money from the flat where they were living.

During the trial, Raja Naqqash Saeed explained that his son has been left traumatised by the kidnapping and is having difficulties at school.

In a statement today, he said: "Myself and my family are very happy with the outcome in Spain.

"I would especially like to thank GMP (Greater Manchester Police) for their hard work and support with the safe return of my son.

"I would also like to thank my family for their support and to all the communities that came together to pray for Sahil's safe return."

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Kidnapping - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

kidnapping - Legal Dictionary - The Free Dictionary

Kidnapped: Sahil Saeed was seized by four armed men while visiting his ...