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Three charged in kidnapping of British boy in Pakistan

From Al Goodman, CNN Madrid Bureau Chief
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sahil Saeed abducted from grandmother's home in Pakistan on March 3
  • Trio charged with kidnapping a minor; held without bail
  • Ransom phone calls came from Spain
  • Father dropped ransom in France; authorities followed suspects to Spain

Madrid, Spain (CNN) -- Two Pakistani men and a Romanian woman were charged in Spain on Thursday in connection with the kidnapping of a 5-year-old British boy in Pakistan.

They were each charged with one count of kidnapping a minor, and were ordered to remain in jail without bail, according to the spokeswoman for the Superior Court of Catalonia, in Barcelona.

The suspects were arrested in Spain earlier this week. Two others were arrested in France in connection with the case.

One of the Pakistani men and the woman went to Paris, France, to collect ransom money and later returned to Spain by car where they were arrested near Barcelona, police said Wednesday. The two others arrested in France were relatives of at least some of the suspects in Spain, and provided housing for the duo who went to Paris to collect the ransom, police said.

The first phone calls requesting a ransom had come from Spain, police said. On Tuesday, the boy, Sahil Saeed, was released in good condition at a school in the Punjab province of Pakistan, after nearly two weeks in captivity, the British High Commission said.

Video: Kidnapped boy freed
Video: Spanish police raid home
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Sahil, a British citizen of Pakistani descent, was abducted on March 3 -- the final day of a vacation in Pakistan before he was to return home to Oldham in northern England.

Gunmen entered Sahil's grandmother's home in Pakistan and seized him, demanding a ransom of 110,000 British pounds ($168,476), authorities said.

In Spain, police said they seized at the suspects' home a total of 105,000 British pounds($160,818) in cash, 3,565 euros ($4,901) in cash, and a new computer purchased in France during the suspects' trip there.

That combined total, plus the travel expenses of the suspects to and from France, would account for the entirety of the ransom, the police said in a statement.

They also found mobile phones used by the suspects in France to contact the boy's father, police said. Interpol, the international police agency based in France, informed Spanish police about the kidnapping of the boy in Pakistan, and Spanish investigators soon determined that the initial calls demanding a ransom had come from a town in Tarragona province, southwest of Barcelona.

An alleged representative for the kidnappers, who spoke Urdu, initially set a three-day deadline for the ransom to be paid in Manchester, England.

He and another alleged kidnapper representative, a woman, made 15 calls to negotiate the ransom, the police said. The father of the boy first went to Manchester, but once there, was told by the alleged kidnapper representatives to take the cash with him to Paris, where the ransom was finally paid, Spanish police said.

Police observed the payment, on a Paris street, and saw the suspects put the money in a small bag and wheeled suitcase. French police followed the male and female suspects south to the Spanish border, where Spanish officers picked up the surveillance, while the boy in Pakistan remained in captivity, the police said.

The two suspects eventually arrived at the town of Constanti in Tarragona province, and with a third suspect, a man, took the ransom to an apartment. Police closed in to make the arrests on Tuesday after the boy in Pakistan had been safely released.