Ovidiu Ohanesian

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Ovidiu Ohanesian is a journalist.

Ovidiu Ohanesian who is a Romanian-Armenian journalist, remembered how he was held hostage in Iraq for nearly 2 months, and how, in a hot cellar he was confined, blindfolded and ordered not to speak, along with his fellow hostages.

Ohannesian also received parting gifts from his captors, when he returned home after May 22, 2008.

The list of hostages consists of Ohannesian of the daily newspaper Romania Libera, reporter Maria Keanne Ion and cameraman Sorin Miscoci of Prima TV. Also held captive was their Iraqi American guide Mohammed Monaf when they were taken hostage on March 28.

Romanian PresidentTraian Basescu led a negotiating team to win the journalists' release. A group called Maadh Bin Jabal, previously unknown, claimed to be responsible for the kidnapping. Al Jazeera television aired a videotape of their statement.

According to Ohannesian, the abductees were blindfolded and ordered not to speak. If they broke the rules then punishment followed, which included the denial of meals. "We spent 51 days underground, crowded in a small cellar with a weak light bulb, and blindfolded. There was no air, I was sweating abundantly, worse than a sauna," he said.

Monaf has been accused by Romanian prosecutors of helping the kidnappers, along with a Syrian born businessman, who along with Monaf's wife has denied the charge. The US authorities are holding monaf.

Ohanesian does not believe Monaf was involved in the kidnapping.

"I think he was a collateral victim," he said. "Monaf was held with us the entire time."


  • Romanian-Armenian Journalist Details 51 Days of Iraq Captivity.