The United States and the UK are known for their refusal to pay ransoms for the release of their citizens captured abroad. The perils of paying millions of dollars to terrorist groups are clear. The money is likely to fund future terror activities, which risk the lives of innocent people. Yet, countries such as Spain, Italy and France, are willing to negotiate during a hostage crisis.
The ransom for hostages debate peaked since since late 2012, when scores of western journalists and aid workers working in Syria, were taken hostage by the Islamic State.
American journalist Steven Sotloff was beheaded by ISIS in 2014. The Obama administration had refused to pay a 137-million-dollar ransom for his release, and has blocked the family from negotiating with ISIS on its behalf. Steven’s father, Art Sotloff, sits down with ‘TIJ Talks’ to reflect on the policies that have resulted in his son’s brutal killing.
Journalist Theo Padnos was “luckier” to be kidnapped in Syria by the former Al Nusra Front the former Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria. He was brutally tortured and face mock executions before the state of Qatar paid a multi-million dollar ransom to secure his freedom–money that went right to the pockets of known terrorists. Padnos shares his perspective on the hostage question and has a message to journalists.