Image: Freed German hostages
Reuters
Freed German hostages Julia Thielebein, left, and her parents, Heinrich and Rosmarie Thielebein, attend a meeting with Yemeni officials on Friday.
updated 12/19/2008 3:15:57 PM ET 2008-12-19T20:15:57

Kidnappers released three Germans abducted in Yemen after the Yemeni government agreed to meet some of their conditions, including paying a ransom and releasing some tribesmen from prison, mediators said Friday.

The Germans — an aid worker and her visiting mother and father — arrived in the capital, San'a, later Friday and met with Yemen's ministers of tourism and interior as well as Germany's deputy ambassador to Yemen, Yemeni security officials said. They were kidnapped Monday by Bani Dhabyan tribesmen in a province located about 65 miles south of San'a.

The three received medical checkups, which showed they were in good condition, and spoke with their relatives in Germany, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The kidnappers released the hostages after the government agreed to their conditions to release some tribesmen in Yemeni prisons, said one of mediators who is also an official the Khawlan tribe.

The mediator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a ransom of about $100,000 was paid by the Yemeni government.

The German government confirmed their release, and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the three were in the care of the German Embassy in San'a.

Kidnappers sought cleric's release
In a statement, the German Foreign Ministry said Steinmeier thanked Yemen's prime minister in a phone call Friday for the help provided by his country's authorities. It said it would not comment on details of the release or of the freed Germans' plans to return home.

The mediators had said the kidnappers' leader, Sheik Abed Rabbo Saleh al-Tam, had also demanded the release of a cleric, Sheik Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad, jailed in the United States on terrorism charges.

Al-Moayad was sentenced in 2005 in New York to 75 years in prison for supporting terrorism. In October, an appeals court overturned his conviction and ordered a retrial because of inflammatory testimony about unrelated terrorism cases in his first trial.

The demand to release al-Moayad was in addition others made by al-Tam for the release of his son and brother from Yemeni jails. It was not clear who was among the tribesmen released by the Yemeni government and if they had been released as of Friday night.

More on: Yemen

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