Five Czechs and a local taxi driver disappeared in Beqaa Valley in Eastern Lebanon Saturday. A massive search-and-rescue operation is underway. Their car was found near the Lebanese border with Syria, which prompted speculation that the Czech nationals aged 25 to 55 years were kidnapped by extremists.
Meanwhile, Czech and Lebanese media report that the missing local driver Saib Munir Taan, 50, is the brother of an alleged ‘terrorist’ supporter Ali Fayad, who is currently under arrest in Prague.
The foreign ministry of the Czech Republic refused to confirm any such information indicating it could jeapordize the ongoing search operation. Czech security services are closely cooperating, they said.
The tweet by the Czech PM Sobotka reads:
“The case of the missing Czechs in Lebanon is being intensively investigated, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is examining all available information”
Fayad, who holds Ukrainian citizenship, and his two Côte d'Ivoire accomplices are accused by the United States of attempting to sell arms and drugs to US secret agents who posed as Colombian FARC insurgents, the militant group which is designated by the US and the EU as a terrorist organization.
The United States has requested extradition of Fayad and his accomplices to the USA, where they could expect life imprisonment.
The Czech appeals court refused the extradition in June, stating the United States has not provided the necessary guarantee that the three men will not meet inhumane treatment.