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German Woman Wages Campaign To Free Her Fiance

Dirk Hasert had planned a day of trekking in the Kashmiri mountains with his fiancee - a place both thought would be a vacation paradise.

Instead, the 27-year-old college student has spent a year of captivity with Muslim rebels.

Hasert and Anna-Katrin Hennig, both students at the polytechnic university in the eastern German province of Thuringen, had spent months planning the trip to Kashmir.

“When we got there, it was incredibly quiet and peaceful,” Hennig said. “It was certainly irritating that so many military people were around, but who could take notice of that in such a magnificent landscape?”

Shortly after they began their trek on July 8, the two were separated by armed rebels.

“I was alone and I just thought what can I do?” Henning recalled. The next evening she met Jane Schelly of Spokane, Julie Mangan and Catherine Moseley, who had also had husbands or boyfriends kidnapped by the rebels.

The four waited anxiously in New Dehli for news.

“There were threatening signs, but everyone assured us it would be OK,” she said. “But after the Norwegian Hans Ostro’s death, things could never be the same again.”

Hennig returned to Germany in December and continues to campaign for Hasert’s release.

With friends, she has circulated petitions and organized rallies and concerts. They have created a site on the World Wide Web, a home page called “Free Dirk Hasert.”

That campaign has resulted in some 200,000 postcards and letters being sent to the office of German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel urging him to do more to push for Hasert’s release

Although there has been no news of the captives since January, the campaign continues.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Translated by The Evening Gazette