In late 2012, ISIS began kidnapping Western journalists and aid workers in Syria. While several European governments paid millions of dollars in ransom, and their hostages were freed, the United Kingdom and United States refused, arguing that any ransom would fuel terrorism and encourage further kidnappings. As a result, many American and British hostages faced a terrible fate. What overlapping moral, political, and legal considerations must governments confront when their citizens are taken hostage? Should governments—or citizens and corporations—ever pay ransom to terrorists?
Copies of Joel Simon’s latest book We Want To Negotiate: The Secret World of Kidnapping, Hostages, and Ransom will be available for sale and signing from the Book Cellar following the program.