American student kidnapped, taken to Lyons, released

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Geneva police have confirmed to GenevaLunch.com that an American student was kidnapped and taken to France, where he was released. “The ‘banditism’ brigade in Geneva is working with French police” to investigate the incident, says a police spokesperson, but the affair has now been turned over to the Geneva public prosecutor’s office, which will be giving us more information shortly.

The victim is a young man, a student in international relations in Philadelphia who is doing an internship at the UN in Geneva, according to regional French news media Le Dauphine, which broke the story Monday morning. He left the Zoo disco in Geneva in the early hours of Saturday with a group he had just met, including a young woman, who offered to give him a lift. He got into the car with the group but they quickly blindfolded him, told him not to cough after he was punched in the thigh several times, the newspaper reports, based on information from French police.

The gang took him for a long drive and the next thing that is known is that he was found gesticulating wildly at 05:00 Saturday morning by a driver on the RD 124 between La Verpillière and Satolas-et-Bonce in France. The driver and others pulled over, since it was clear that some drama had just occurred. The youth spoke only English and could not make himself understood, except that he kept repeating the word “kidnapped”.

Le Dauphine reports that according to French police his credit card was used three times, at the service station in Bonneville on the A40 autoroute, in a second location not yet identified and for the third time in Marseille Saturday morning at 11:30. Two cell phones were also stolen.

Geneva police reportedly learned that he had left his jacket at the Zoo, “probably inebriated  according to the French newspaper, a fact Geneva police have not confirmed. But he was, fortunately, given a jacket by his kidnappers, given subzero temperatures in the early  hours of Saturday in the French countryside.

Police in Geneva and France immediately launched a search in all directions but the gang has not yet been found and details of the investigation and the crime are not yet available.