Carl Hoernecke in an exclusive interview to YT after he was released: “To be deprived of one’s freedom is a great personal tragedy.” [Archives:2001/25/Interview]

June 18 2001

Both Mr. Tedlef and Carl expressed their appreciation and gratitude to Yemen Times for its role in giving coverage and in comforting Carl’s family during the difficult times of Carl when he was in captivity.
The interview, which was made one day before Carl and his father were to leave the country, supposedly today (Monday June 18), was short and precise, and only focused on the aftermath of Carl’s release.
It is worth mentioning that Yemen Times was the first newspaper to announce the kidnapping of Carl, and was the first to interview Carl while in captivity. It was also the only newspaper that interviewed him after he was released. Yemen Times representative was the first journalist to meet Carl, and was the only journalist who met him twice and delivered three of his letters to the German embassy. The Editor-in-Chief of Yemen Times, Mr. Walid Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf met Mr. Tedlef and Carl at the Taj Sheba Hotel, and filed the following interview.
Q: How do you feel, now that you have been released?
A: I feel very relieved and happy.
Q: Will you come back to Yemen again?
A: Yes indeed! I may come back in the near future, but may not complete my Arabic studies in Yemen.
Q: Will you advise Germans to come to Yemen. If yes, why?
A: I will advise Germans to come because Yemen is a spectacular country with beautiful scenery and a very rich culture; in particular very friendly and hospitable people.
Q: Briefly describe your experience in captivity.
A: To be deprived of one’s freedom is a great personal tragedy.
Q: Did the tribesmen ever attempt to hurt you in any way or did they treat you badly?
A: Never!
Q: How legitimate are the tribesmen in their demands?
A: It is not for me to judge such matters.
Q: Did you believe that you would be released unharmed?
A: How could I be so sure? However, I was hopeful that I would be released unharmed.
Q: You have many friends in Yemen who have contacted Yemen Times to comfort you. What do you want to tell them?
A: I am very grateful to all my friends who have shown their concern and through their kindness and hospitality have given comfort to my family during the difficult days of my captivity.
Q: In your opinion, is it safe to come to Yemen?
A: Aside from the unfortunate instances of kidnapping, Yemen is a safe country to travel to, where other forms of crime, which are a source of worry to tourists in so many other countries, are virtually absent.
Q: Will you continue to feel safe when journeying in Yemen?
A: Remember that I have traveled widely in Yemen in the past without difficulty. Perhaps I will look over my shoulders from time to time at first, but frankly speaking, I don’t think I will have any concerns in the future.
Q: Any further comments?
A: I want to express my great appreciation to the innumerable efforts which I know were undertaken to secure my release and I am deeply grateful that the issue leading to this could be peacefully resolved.
My thanks and appreciation to the Editor-in-Chief of Yemen Times, Walid Al-Saqqaf for being a gentleman by calling my parents in Germany and informing them about my situation, which gave them so much relief in a time of trouble and worries.
I would also like to point out that Hassan Al-Zaidi, whom I hope will be released from prison soon, was the only journalist who met me twice, which is also memorable for me. So I thank Yemen Times for that as well.
Following the interview, Mr. Tedlef Hoerenecke told the Editor-in-Chief that the family would be coming back in the future to visit many tourist areas in Yemen as many of their friends invited them to explore the fascinations of the country.
Mr. Walid Al-Saqqaf earlier sent bouquets of flowers to the Hoerencke family expressing his happiness on the peaceful release of Carl, and wishing to forge a friendship with the family.
“This was a memorable experience for all of us, and we will certainly visit Yemen again as tourists. I extend an invitation to you Mr. Walid to visit us in Germany, especially since you know we have become friends. We consider you a true gentleman for what you have done,” Mr. Tedlef said.