In the Netherlands, the Dutch businessman Frits Schuitema who was freed by guerrilla kidnappers in El Salvador on Saturday (30 December), described the conditions of his confinement during a news conference held in Eindhoven on Tuesday (2 January).
GV Philips Electrical Company Executive Frits Schuitema at news conference in Eindhoven
CU Mr Schuitema speaking in English
REPORTER: "Can you describe your situation during you captivity?"
SCHUITEMA: "I've been all the time in a very small room about three and a half metres by three and a half metres, without fresh air, completely locked, without any windows, I have never been out of this room during the thirty-six days. The treatment was good, the food was reasonable, I didn't have any physical problems at all, I've never been sick or anything like it. They were kind, after a few weeks I got some contacts with them, I got things to read, I got latest newspapers with information about the total situation in general, under the circumstances, I think the treatment was reasonable."
REPORTER: "Have you had contact with the guerrillas?"
SCHUITEMA: "I had contact with three people. One, which was the chief negotiator, I met him about four times, every time I met him I had to put on my special sunglasses, I'll show them to you, as you can see they're plastered on the inside so I couldn't see anything, and then I was talking to him like this, I never really saw him, I just heard his voice. I also was wearing these during the transport after my kidnap and after I was released."
REPORTER: "Did you get information about the two British and the Japanese?"
SCHUITEMA: "Well after a few weeks, I got newspapers and consequently I got the information that they were kidnapped and also the political demands and also the information of the special commission with Archbishop Romero and the President of the (indistinct), so I knew more or less what was going on, and I got also in the newspapers, the situation of the two English people, one of them I know very well, Michael Chatterton, happened to be difficult and the negotiations were difficult, so I asked for more information of my kidnappers, because I knew that I was in a much more favourable position, and I realised that I probably was the only person who was in direct contact with them, and who could do something. So I asked them to protect their lives and do everything to get them out free as well, and I also offered them to act as a go-between, to pass on information to the Bank of London, to see what I could do for them. They didn't want to accept, they asked me to do one small thing which I did immediately after my release but of course I cannot tell you what it was."
A spokesman for the Philip Electrical Company refused to comment upon reports that the firm had paid a one million dollar ransom for Mr Schuitema's release. During his news conference, Mr Schuitema expressed fears for the safety of the two Britons and the Japanese, Ian Massie and Michael Chatterton and Takakazu Suzuki, being held by the same band of guerrillas. He said he though negotiations for the release of the two British Bank of London executives were going badly but was mor optimistic about the bargaining for the release of Mr Suzuki.
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Background: In the Netherlands, the Dutch businessman Frits Schuitema who was freed by guerrilla kidnappers in El Salvador on Saturday (30 December), described the conditions of his confinement during a news conference held in Eindhoven on Tuesday (2 January). Mr Schuitema, who was held by the El Salvador Rebel Armed Forces of National Resistance (FARN) for thirty-six days, was released after the Dutch government authorised the radio transmission of the guerrilla group's manifesto. Mr Schuitema, a Philip Electrical Company executive, also commented upon the kidnapping in El Salvador of two British and a Japanese businessman.