Local News

The Dutch journalist Joodeeth still loves Yemen

Mohammed Abdulrahman

“Certainly، our government and family did not pay even a penny for the kidnappers in Yemen, we also do not know how we were released. I still miss Yemen and we are so sorry for leaving such a beautiful country without a good farewell to our Yemeni friends,” said by the Dutch journalist Joodeeth Shbahal and her husband Bodwayn Prendsn with the Radio network in the Netherlands Worldwide after being held captive for six months in Yemen.

The couple added that their Kidnapping accident now is no longer an issue. They plan to start their normal life, and they are even thinking to work in another Arab area of the world, possibly in the Gulf region.


We don’t blame Yemenis

Shbahal emphasized that she does not blame all Yemenis for what she and her husband were dealt with. The kidnapping issue brought up many problems, which Yemenis suffer from, such as poverty, the absence of security and stability, and the weakness of education, as well as the prevailing ideas about the relationship with money.

Shbahal and her husband Prendsn were greeted with warm welcomes in the newsroom at the headquarters of the Radio network in Hilversum. Their Shbahal expressed her appreciation for the Radio network and for her journalist colleagues in the Netherlands and Yemen. The Radio’s chief editor, William Falcnborj, in an open dialogue with the Radio’s journalists, introduced her.

Shbahal who has finished his first book about Yemen before the kidnapping, emphasized that she will write another book about the kidnapping experience. She hasn’t begun yet, since she is still recovering from the six months of detention.

Shbahal and Prendsn emphasized that their detention for six month has not affected their relationship negatively. “During the period of the kidnapping they were doing athletics and were playing cards at times. The best thing that a person can need in such a situation is a good companion and we provided each other with this,” Shbahal stated.

A guard in the case of depression

During the kidnapping period, there was a guard caring on them. The guard was receiving the orders from another person, which he referred to him as “boss”.  The journalist and her husband have never met the “boss”. In the beginning the guard told him that their detention will be for a month, at most two months. Shbahal noticed that the guard became worried and depressed when the two months finished without any result and he began losing his patience; he gained more weight, which might be because of the rice the chicken he was eating every day.

The manager was exchanging short messages in pieces of paper with the guard. For the duration of the kidnapping period the kidnappers didn’t use cell phones or any electronic devices, fearing drones, according to Shbahal.

As she said “once the guard told her that in the beginning they demanded ten million Euros to release them, but as they got weary as time passed on they discounted a third of the amount after turning the ransom to dollars.

Thinking of escaping

Shbahal said that her knowledge about Yemen and its culture helped her to exceed that hard situation and understanding everything that was around her. The Guard understood her desires in relation to food and clothing.

Did you think to escape from that Guard?

According to her husband Prendsn whose job is an Insurance Expert, he replied with “we think about escaping as well as we think about the potential risks, so we decided not to escape especially from a place in which all the people carry guns … after a few days we realized that the kidnappers aim wasn’t to harm us so we decided to be patient.

The attendants discussed with Shbahal the accurate balance which imposes to deal with a commitment to publish the news and inform the public from their perspective, and taking into account the safety considerations of abductees from the other side.