Lindt Chocolate Cafe Australia issues statement on hostage situation

Lindt Chocolate Cafe Australia issued the following statement on Facebook regarding the hostage situation in Sydney:

Lindt Chocolate Cafe Australia issues statement on hostage situation

Lindt Chocolate Cafe Australia issued the following statement on Facebook regarding the hostage situation in Sydney:

As the hostage-taking in our Café in Sydney came to an end, Lindt & Sprüngli is profoundly saddened and deeply affected about the death of innocent people. We are devastated by the loss of their lives and that several others were wounded and had to experience such trauma. Our thoughts and feelings are with the victims and their families who have been through an incredible ordeal, and we want to pay tribute to their courage and bravery.

“I’m shocked and deeply saddened by the terrible incident that has taken place in Sydney”, says Ernst Tanner, Chairman and Group CEO Lindt & Sprüngli. “I cannot believe that such an act of violence happened. I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the victims and their families. In these difficult times we all need to stand together in order to defend the values of freedom, peace and tolerance.”

Our immediate concerns are for the innocent people who were taken hostage in a place which was chosen in such a random way. We are thankful that most of the hostages who were involved in this terrible criminal act were freed by the intervention of the New South Wales Police Forces and would like to thank them for their service.

“Lindt & Sprüngli will provide any support to the victims and their families, and indeed to all our employees affected by this event. We are grateful for the support we received from the public in Australia and from all around the world”, says Steven Loane, CEO Lindt & Sprüngli in Australia.

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At approximately 10 am today, Monday, December 15, 2014, police had surrounded the Lindt Chocolate Café in Sydney, Australia, along with snipers, where fifty-year-old Man Haron Monis, the gunman, was holding hostages and kept them there for over 16 hours. The self-styled Muslim cleric was also known as Sheikh Haron, and he forced the hostages to take turns holding up a black flag that said in Arabic, “There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God.”

Well into the hostage crisis, at least five being held were able to escape, which caused the gunman to become extremely agitated, as he was seen through the glass doors and windows of the café where it was also witnessed that he began screaming at the hostages.

Police ended up storming the café killing the gunman. Two hostages were killed during the standoff.

Gunman Sheikh Haron had a long list of criminal activities involving violent crimes, extremism, and mental instability. He had pleaded guilty last year for writing offensive letters to families of Australian troops and was also charged as an accessory to murder in the case of his ex-wife’s death. In that same year he had also been charged with sexual assault of a women in 2002 as well as other sex-related charges for another 6 victims. In those crimes he called himself Mohammad Hassan Manteghi and presented himself as a “healer.”

The gunman had fled Iran and was granted political asylum from Australia from where he posted his extremist Sunni beliefs on the Internet. He posted a pledge of allegiance on his website to the Islamic State terror group, and during the siege today showed his actions were in line with the symbolism of the ISIS death cult. The Australian police believe he was acting alone.

The gunman was currently out on bail.

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