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Freed Hostage to Stay in West Germany for Tests

Associated Press

Doctors said Wednesday that freed hostage Mithileshwar Singh is “in good spirits” but will stay in West Germany for three more days of medical tests.

Dr. Robert W. Gilmore, head of the U.S. Air Force hospital in Wiesbaden, told reporters that a preliminary examination indicates that Singh, 60, received adequate medical treatment during his 20 months of captivity in Lebanon.

“He lost significant weight and muscle mass. But he was afforded visits by a physician and treatment was appropriate for his illnesses,” Gilmore said of the Indian national, who was freed Monday night in what his captors called a good-will gesture.

He was formally turned over to U.S. and Indian diplomats in Damascus, Syria, on Tuesday and then flown to West Germany.

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The doctor said tests done since Singh’s arrival at Wiesbaden confirmed his previously known medical problems--diabetes, hypertension and “possible coronary artery disease.”

“Overall Dr. Singh is in good spirits and though very fatigued has traveled well,” Gilmore said, adding that Singh lost 35 to 40 pounds during his ordeal.

However, he added, “There is tremendous stress.”

A team of State Department officials flew to Wiesbaden on Wednesday to interview Singh, who has permanent resident status in the United States.

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The former hostage did not speak to reporters upon arriving in West Germany.

On Tuesday in Damascus, Singh told waiting reporters: “Thank God I am free. I am very happy. But I am sorry that my colleagues and friends are still in captivity. I hope they will be freed soon.”

Singh’s release still leaves nine Americans missing in Lebanon and believed held by extremist Muslim kidnapers.

Armed men dressed as policemen took Singh, a professor of finance, hostage Jan. 24, 1987, on the Beirut University College campus, along with American educators Alann Steen, Robert Polhill and Jesse Turner.

A group calling itself Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility.


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