Swiss police on Tuesday launched a manhunt for a Syrian man convicted of rape, after he fled his cell along with a female prison guard.
The two fugitives may already have left the country, after the guard helped the prisoner break out of jail near Zurich on Monday night, Zurich cantonal police police said in a statement.
The 27-year-old Syrian man had been sentenced to four years in the Limmattal jail in Dietikon for rape.
The man, identified as Hassan Kiko, told a Swiss newspaper (the Thurgauer Tagblatt) in 2011 that he fled Syria after being imprisoned for three months by the Assad regime.
The guard, identified as Angelica Magdici, 32, enabled convicted rapist Hassan Kiko, 27, to break free from the Limmattal prison on Monday night, Zurich cantonal police said.
The two fled the prison together, the statement said, and police launched a search operation as soon as they learnt of the jailbreak.
Correctional authorities believe the pair may have fled to Italy.
"It is clear that the human factor played a role in this affair," Rebecca de Silva, a spokeswoman for Zurich's cantonal correctional department told 20 Minuten newspaper.
"The guards are in contact with the inmates and look after them," she is quoted as saying.
"A certain intimacy is created among them."
The escape is the first on record at the Limmattal prison, which opened in the Zurich suburb in 2010.
Police believe the pair left in a black BMW X1 station wagon with the licence plate ZH 528 411, headed for Italy.
On Wednesday investigators disclosed no further information, saying they were pursuing “various investigative steps".
But Magdici's husband told 20 Minuten newspaper he did not believe the pair were going to Italy.
“I think they are on the road to Syria," the 25-year-old husband of the prison guard said.
The couple married in 2014 but have been separated for the past three months.
The guard's husband told 20 Minuten that he had noticed his wife had changed a lot recently.
She had started to read the Koran and become very interested in Syria, he said.
“I think she has also become a Muslim."
The husband said the pair drove off in a car that he part-owned, so he filed a complaint with police on Wednesday.