Italian Woman Recounts Haiti Kidnapping Ordeal

An Italian woman kidnapped in Haiti said Friday that she was held for nearly four days in a dark corridor — blindfolded with her hands and feet tied — until her family secured her release by paying a ransom.

Gigliolla Martino, 67, saw the kidnappers savagely beat her 82-year-old husband, Guido Vitiello, before she was seized early Monday. She said she only learned Friday that he had died from his injuries. Authorities originally reported Vitiello was shot.

"Why did they kill him? If they kidnapped me, why did they have to kill him?" she told The Associated Press in an interview.

CountryWatch: Haiti

The armed men who ransacked the couple's villa in Petionville, an upscale suburb of the capital, Port-au-Prince, took Martino to a building where she was fed only cookies and a bottle of fruit juice, she said.

She said she spoke to her family by telephone twice and pleaded for help. Her family negotiated the ransom payment, which she would not disclose.

Late Thursday night, the kidnappers released Martino, leaving her shoeless in a supermarket, she said in the interview at her sister's Petionville home.

Martino runs a cleaning business in Haiti, where she has lived for three decades with her late husband, and two children. She was briefly abducted last year and released unharmed.

She said she was planning to leave the troubled Caribbean nation.

"I cannot live in a country like this, I have been a victim twice," she said. "I can no longer live in my home, I feel my life is still in danger."

Haiti experienced relative calm after President Rene Preval's February election. Since May, however, dozens of foreigners and Haitians have been kidnapped, and gang fighting has forced hundreds to flee their homes in the capital.