Should Ransom Be Paid to Terrorists?

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by onedomino, Sep 29, 2004.

  1. onedomino
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    onedomino SCE to AUX

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    Italy has paid $1 million for the release of two women held by Iraqi terrorists. Was this appropriate? Does this not encourage more kidnappings? Italy is now denying that any ransom was paid. See story below.

    Italy Debates the Cost of Freeing Hostages
    Some fear consequences of alleged ransom payment.
    By Sophie Arie | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0930/p06s01-woeu.html

    ROME – Euphoria still lingers in the air after the triumphant homecoming of two Italian aid workers held hostage in Iraq. But concern intensified Wednesday that by saving the "two Simonas," Italy may have inspired a whole new phase of kidnapping in Iraq, sending a message to criminal gangs that western hostages are worth millions of dollars.
    Amid reports that at least $1 million was paid for the release of Simona Pari and Simona Parretta after 21 days of agonizing negotiations with their captors, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said only that the government made "a very difficult choice."
    But Gustavo Selva, chairman of parliament's foreign affairs committee, confirmed that the two women were saved by cash. "The lives of the girls was the most important thing," Mr. Selva said in an interview with France's RTL radio.
    "In principle, we shouldn't give in to blackmail but this time we had to, although it's a dangerous path to take because, obviously, it could encourage others to take hostages, either for political reasons or for criminal reasons," he said.
    Italy had dismissed paying to release the women during the 21-day kidnapping and refused to withdraw its 2,700 troops from Iraq. Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has sharply denied that any ransom was paid. But reports of a ransom first emerged from a credible Kuwait newspaper, Al-Rai Al-Amm.
    Italy's media grappled with the dangerous implications of paying a ransom.
    "[The Italian aid workers] did honest humanitarian work and ended up being unwitting collection plates," the conservative newspaper Il Foglio said in a comment headlined, "Let's Not Celebrate."
    "That is called ransom and it will fuel the arms trade and recruitment for the war against peace and democracy in that part of the world," Il Foglio said.
    But the center-left daily La Repubblica said a "ransom was paid and that is nothing to be ashamed of" in a front page report.
    Wednesday, both aid workers emerged smiling outside their homes to thank those who had negotiated their release. They said they had been continually blindfolded and did not know where they had been held or by whom.
    Suspicion grew that the women, unlike many of the other 130 hostages being held in Iraq, had been captured purely for cash since their captors did not make them broadcast pleas to their government to save their lives.
    The Arabic-speaking women said Wednesday they had been treated with utmost respect and rarely feared for their lives. Their kidnappers gave them sweets, cakes, and several English language copies of the Koran by their captors. Colleagues said they even appeared to have put on weight.
    Ms. Parretta said she believed her captors were a religious, nonpolitical group, probably Sunni muslims.
    Most Italians continued to express relief after a night in which flowers were thrown, car horns honked, and peace flags were flown around the country.
    "So we paid," said a business woman in Rome. "If we hadn't ... the girls would have come in pieces inside a box."



    Italy Denies Paying Ransom for Hostages
    Thursday, September 30, 2004 at 07:31 JST

    http://www.japantoday.com/e/?content=news&cat=8&id=313842

    ROME — Italy insisted on Wednesday it did not pay a million-dollar ransom to win the release of two aid workers, as the country rejoiced in the homecoming of the women who said they were ready to return to Iraq to continue their work there.

    Foreign Minister Franco Frattini insisted "absolutely no ransom" had been paid for the release of Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, both 29, known affectionately by Italians as "the two Simonas."

    A proud Frattini said Italy had simply used its "wide system of contacts" in the Arab world, adding that this "made the kidnappers understand concretely what they were dealing with: a country, Italy, loved and esteemed by the Arab world."

    "That was our only ransom," he said in an interview with RAI state radio.

    Italian judicial sources investigating the circumstances of the kidnap and release of the women said Wednesday there were no indications of a ransom payment.

    Their release has raised hopes for two French journalists apparently captured by the same group, and British hostage Ken Bigley.

    One report in a Kuwait newspaper had suggested $1 million was handed over to free the women, and comments by opposition politicians continued to fuel the rumours at home.

    "If a ransom has been paid, I think it would only have been a good thing because to save human life you need to use every method you can," said Fausto Bertinotti, secretary of the Refounded Communist party.

    The head of parliament's foreign affairs committee Gustavo Selva told reporters that whatever the official government version, "as a journalist I have the impression that a ransom has been paid, as the ultimate recourse to save the lives of two young women."

    As the debate raged over the reported ransom payment, the women were meanwhile having their first taste of freedom and Italian pasta since they were snatched from the Baghdad office of their "Bridge to Baghdad" aid organization on Sept 7.

    In their public comments since their release, they appeared to be trying to ensure their long captivity, and reports last week that they had been beheaded by their abductors, would not sour Iraq's image in Italy.

    Pari went so far as to say she already misses Iraq and the friends she had made there during her work for the Italian-based organization.

    But on the thorny question of Italy's continued military presence in Iraq, she gave no electoral gifts to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was among the first to greet the women on their return to Rome late Tuesday.

    She said Italy should withdraw its 3,000 strong contingent in Iraq — controversially dispatched to Iraq by Berlusconi as part of his support for the U.S.-led coalition — if that would help restore normality in the country.

    "We have to keep on understanding what is happening in Iraq," she said. "We have to denounce it, to seek to modify this horrible reality."

    Torretta said they had been well treated during their three-week ordeal, saying she too was willing to go back.

    She said they had been treated "with a lot of respect" during their captivity, and showed off a box of sweets which she said her kidnappers had given her as a farewell gift. She said they had been given books to read by their captors.

    "It was tough, but we knew that we would be freed," she said.

    "I hope that our experience and its outcome of the kidnapping will help everyone understand and to believe that there can still be dialogue between the parties," Torretta said in a telephone interview with a television chat show host which was to be broadcast late Wednesday. (Wire reports)
     
  2. CSM
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    CSM Senior Member

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    I suspect that they will continue to pay for a long time to come.

    In answer to the original question posed for this thread, in my opinion, NO.
     
  3. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    Italy should have sent a million dollars worth of bombs and dropped them where they would do the most good.

    Instead they are now subject to even more kidnappings and the proceeds will be used to attack our troops.
     
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  4. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Is it possible Italy received more than the return of the hostages for the money?---What if Italy also demanded intel ?--Just trying to give Italy the benefit of the doubt.
     
  5. dmp
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    dmp Senior Member

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