$58m paid for 9 Iraq hostages

Reply Mon 22 May, 2006 01:15 pm
$58m paid for 9 Iraq hostages

May 23, 2006

LONDON: Details have emerged that France, Italy and Germany have paid terrorists a combined $58 million to free nine hostages in Iraq.

Britain's The Times has seen documents detailing the hostage payments despite earlier public denials by each country's government that no ransom money was paid.

The list of payments, held by security officials in Baghdad, has angered Western diplomats who argue the payments only encourage organised crime gangs to grab more foreign captives.

The ransom money has freed three French hostages, three Italians and three Germans – despite denials at the time from the respective governments.

Britain has refused to pay ransom money, leading to the death of English pair Kenneth Bigley and Margaret Hassan in 2004.

The only Australian to be taken hostage since the war began, Douglas Wood, was rescued after pleading on video for his life and Australia's withdrawal from the US-led invasion – the latter of which was dismissed by Prime Minister John Howard.

It is understood Australia will follow a similar hard-line policy as Britain and refuse to negotiate with hostage-takers in the event another person is seized.

More than 250 foreigners have been abducted since the war in Iraq started in 2003; of those, 44 have been murdered, 135 released, three escaped, six were rescued and the fate of the others remains unknown.

In September 2004, Italian women Simona Pari and Simona Torretta were abducted and returned 20 days later after a ransom of $6.6 million was paid, according to the report.

Three months later Frenchmen Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot were abducted and freed after a $20 million ransom was paid.

In February 2005, Italy's Giuliana Segrena was taken and freed after a ransom of $7.9 million was paid.

France's Florence Aubenas was released in June 2005 after being held for 157 days when a $13.2 million ransom was met, then German Susanne Ostloff was released after a $4 million ransom last year, while compatriots Rene Braunlich and Thomas Nitzschke were released earlier this month after their Government met a $6.6 million ransom request.

A number of other countries are also said to have paid for the release of hostages. They include Sweden, Turkey, Romania and Jordan.


We Don't Negotiate With Terrorists....Riiight
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Reply Mon 22 May, 2006 01:25 pm
When you say "we", you mean everyone except France, Germany and Italy, right?

Not exactly sure what the sarcastic remark at the end was implying.
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Reply Mon 22 May, 2006 01:29 pm
'We' as in democratic and civilized modern countries of the worlds...
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Reply Mon 22 May, 2006 01:45 pm
Instead of "we", you should just say Germany, France and Italy instead of trying to lump everyone into some weird, fanatical "we".
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Lord Ellpus
Reply Mon 22 May, 2006 01:59 pm
If so called terrorists are prepared to be bought off in this manner, then they show themselves as nothing but crooks, very much in the same vein as the mafia, or Corsican gangsters who kidnap people in return for big bucks.

To pay these thugs for the release of their fellow countrymen, the countries who caved in will now have to live with themselves, if and when the thugs go out searching for more of their fellow countrymen, safe in the knowledge that more money will come rolling in.
Of course, these thugs will be better armed and equipped, thanks to the original pile of ransom money. They will also be better equipped to terrorise and intimidate any other foreigners and peace loving Iraqis who may get in their way.
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