Obama Allows Families to Pay Ransom to Hostage-Takers

Obama Allows Families to Pay  Ransom to Hostage-TakersObama Allows Families to Pay  Ransom to Hostage-Takers

US President Barack Obama said the US government has let down the families of Americans held hostage by armed groups abroad, and outlined new policies that could make it easier for those families to pay ransom to help free their loved ones.

“These families have already suffered enough and they should never feel ignored or victimized by their own government,” Obama said on Wednesday as he detailed the results of a six-month review of US hostage policy, Al Jazeera reported.

The review’s conclusions aim to streamline and improve communications with families, who have sharply criticized the government for providing them with confusing and contradictory information. Some families have complained about threats of criminal prosecution if they seek to pay ransom, threats Obama said would end.

More than 30 American are currently being held hostage outside the US, Obama’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco said.

However, Obama expressed concern that paying ransoms could make Americans greater targets for kidnapping and increases funding for terrorists.

He also said the US government would continue to abide by the “no concessions” policy, but made clear that government officials can have contact with hostage-takers.