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Dokumenter the Times har fått tilgang på viser at Italia, Frankrike og Tyskland har betalt opp mot 10 millioner dollar per person for å få kidnappede statsborgere løslatt i Irak. Alle tre land sier offisielt at de ikke har betalt noe til kidnapperne.

Unntaket er Storbritannia som gjør hva det sier. Men det kostet Margaret Hassan og Ken Bigley livet.

Å betale for gisler betyr ikke nødvendigvis takknemlighet. Det tyske gislet Susanne Osthoff, som kostet regjeringen millioner, dro ikke hjem hvor datteren ventet, men ble i Irak, og ble endatil observert med en del av løsepengene på seg. Det er mistanke om at hun var med på å sette kidnappingen i scene.

FRANCE, Italy and Germany sanctioned the payment of $45 million in deals to free nine hostages abducted in Iraq, according to documents seen by The Times.
All three governments have publicly denied paying ransom money. But according to the documents, held by security officials in Baghdad who have played a crucial role in hostage negotiations, sums from $2.5 million to $10 million per person have been paid over the past 21 months. Among those said to have received cash ransoms was the gang responsible for seizing British hostages including Kenneth Bigley, the murdered Liverpool engineer.

The list of payments has also been seen by Western diplomats, who are angered at the behaviour of the three governments, arguing that it encourages organised crime gangs to grab more foreign captives.

«In theory we stand together in not rewarding kidnappers, but in practice it seems some administrations have parted with cash and so it puts other foreign nationals at risk from gangs who are confident that some governments do pay,» one senior envoy in the Iraqi capital said.

More than 250 foreigners have been abducted since the US-led invasion in 2003. At least 44 have been killed; 135 were released, three escaped, six were rescued and the fate of the others remains unknown.

Mange stiller seg skeptiske til å betale løsepenger. Det gjør vestlige borgere til verdifulle objekter, og holder kidnappingsmaskinen i gang. En god del av pengene regner man med havner hos «insurgents», og finansierer således død og ødeleggelse av andre mennesker.

How $45m secretly bought freedom of foreign hostages