After Foley Murder, Questions About Ransom Demands Arise

August 25, 2014

Friends and family of journalist James Foley gathered for a memorial mass in his hometown of Rochester, New Hampshire yesterday, five days after he was murdered by ISIS militants.  

The service was held on the same day hostage Peter Theo Curtis was released. He had been held for almost two years by the al-Nusra Front, a Syrian rebel group with ties to Al Qaeda. U.S. officials say they were not involved in private negotiations to secure his release and don’t know whether any ransom was paid.

The two cases raise significant questions about how to negotiate with terror groups who take American hostages and how to handle ransom demands.


Eileen Babbitt directs the International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program at the Fletcher School at Tuft’s University. 

Charlie Sennott is the co-founder of GlobalPost, the founder of the GroundTruth Project, and a contributor to WGBH News.  

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