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October 24, 2016 / 22 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘ransom’

US Denies Conditioning $400 Million Payment on Prisoner Release Was Ransom

Friday, August 19th, 2016

The U.S. State Department continues to insist that a $400 million cash payment airlifted to Iran earlier this year was not a ransom payment for the release of four American hostages but new details initially revealed by The Wall Street Journal beg the point.

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, were released January 17. A Jewish prisoner also held hostage — Bob Levinson — somehow was not included in the released. Oddly, the Iranians claim they have no knowledge of his whereabouts. As that was taking place, a separate aircraft had landed in Tehran with the cash. State Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Thursday the money was held back until the prisoners were freed.

“In basic English you are saying you wouldn’t give [them] the 400 million in cash until the prisoners were released, correct?” asked a reporter during the briefing on Thursday.

“That’s correct,” Kirby replied.

Kirby said negotiations for the return of the money to Iran, which was related to a failed 1979 military equipment deal between the two countries, were separate from the talks about the prisoners. Another $1.3 billion is expected to be paid to Iran in interest on the failed deal.

But Abedini told reporters that he and the other hostages were kept waiting at the airport in Iran for more than 20 hours, and that he was told by a senior Iranian intelligence agent that their departure would depend on the arrival of a second plane.

The State Department has denied these claims.

Earlier this month, U.S. President Barack Obama likewise insisted the money was not a quid pro quo. “This wasn’t some nefarious deal,” he told journalists during a news conference Aug. 4. “We do not pay ransom for hostages.”

Hana Levi Julian

Japan, Jordan Unite on ISIS Hostage Crisis

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Two hostages – one each from Japan and Jordan – may die soon if their respective governments don’t pay a handsome sum to ransom them.

A new video uploaded by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization appearing to show Japanese freelance journalist Kenji Goto and a Jordanian pilot held with him, proclaims the two will die in 24 hours unless Jordan frees terrorist Sajida al-Rishawi from death row.

Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh was captured after his jet crashed in northeastern Syria this past December (2014) during a bombing mission against ISIS.

Goto’s friend, 42 year old Haruna Yukawa was beheaded last week after a previous 72-hour ransom deadline expired. ISIS had demanded $200 million in exchange for that hostage.

In the new clip, the man speaking states, “She (Rishawi) has been a prisoner for a decade and I’ve only been a prisoner for a few months. Her for me, a straight exchange.”

Rishawi, an Iraqi, has been on death row for years in Jordan for her involvement in a suicide bombing that took the lives of 60 people in 2005.

Japanese government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga was quoted by The Guardian as saying Tuesday in response, “In this extremely tough situation, we are continuing as before to request the cooperation of the Jordanian government to work toward the immediate release of Mr. Goto.”

The Kyodo news agency quoted unnamed officials who said Jordan has been in contact with ISIS through a third party about negotiating a deal for the release of the two hostages. Jordan’s King Abdullah II, however, was quoted as telling a Jordanian newspaper that the case of the Jordanian pilot “tops the country’s priorities.”

The United States meanwhile is adamantly opposed to any prisoner swaps with ISIS, let alone the payment of ransoms to that or any other terror organization.

Hana Levi Julian

ISIS Ultimatum to Japan: $200 Million or Execution of Two Japanese Citizens

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

The Islamic State (ISIS) has released a video in which it demands $200 million from the Japanese government to save the lives of two its citizens being held hostage.

The ransom matches the same sum of money that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged last week for non-military assistance to countries fighting the ISIS.

“Should we leave terrorism or weapons of mass destruction to spread in this region, the loss imparted upon the international community would be immeasurable,” said Abe, who by coincidence or not is visiting in Israel at the time ISIS posted its ultimatum.

The hostages were identified as journalist Kenji Goto Jogo and private military contractor Haruna Yukawa, who traveled to Syria for unknown reasons.

The audio in the video, which YouTube has banned, features a British-accented man, probably the same barbarian who beheaded other hostages.

He said to Japan in the video, “You have proudly donated $100 million to kill our women and children, to destroy the homes of the Muslims.” The actual amount was $200 million, which the ISIS badly needs to funds is operations in the wake of falling revenues from the plunge in the price of oil, on which it has depended for revenues.

The ISIS has attracted members from all over the world, including Japan. An Israeli official has said that nine Japanese citizens have joined the ranks of the ISIS.





Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Israeli to Raise Ransom Money for Missing Boys

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

An Israeli entrepreneur has launched a project to raise NIS 500,000 in order to buy the release of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shayer and Naftali Frenkel.

Matan Nahmani, a self-described “social media professional,” has launched a a campaign to raise the money on Headstart,a crowd funding platform. He says the money will be used to offer cash rewards for information leading to the missing teens, or to the individuals responsible for abducting them.

“After attracting all the money, in accordance with Headstart rules, I will begin to publicise the prize in the Arabic press and social media networks,” Nahmani told the Hebrew-language NRG website.

“The idea behind this project is that first-and-foremost, we Israelis, who care so much about the boys, must be dedicated to contributing whatever necessary to creating this prize. After that, we will ask the rest of the world to help, and even to make the prize bigger,” Nahmani said.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Germany Urged to Resolve Greek Holocaust Ransom Issue

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

The World Jewish Congress urged Germany to address a request by the Greek Jewish community of Thessaloniki to be paid back for a ransom it had surrendered to the Nazis when they occupied Greece during the Second World War.

In 1942, the Greek Jewish community paid 1.9 billion drachmas (about $61 million in today’s money) to a Nazi commander for the release of about 10,000 Jews who were forced to perform hard labor on roads and railroads. About 50,000 Thessaloniki Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

The Jewish community of Thessaloniki first brought the request to return the money before Greek courts in 2007. This year, the Jewish community is suing Germany over the issue in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, although Germany’s Finance Ministry has so far rejected the request.

“Surely the German government, which has settled so many Holocaust-era claims righteously, can find a resolution for this claim, which the Jewish community of Thessaloniki in Greece has pressed for decades and is extensively documented,” World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said Tuesday. “As German President Joachim Gauck makes an official visit to Greece this week, now is the time to bring closure to this episode.”

JNS News Service

Thessaloniki Jews Suing Germany in European Human Rights Court

Monday, February 24th, 2014

The Jewish community of Thessaloniki is suing Germany for the return of a ransom paid during the Nazi occupation of Greece.

The papers were filed Friday in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, the community’s president, David Saltiel, told JTA.

The move to the European court comes after a struggle of two decades in Greek courts, including the Supreme Court, which ruled that Germany had immunity under international conventions.

“It is the end of a long process,” Saltiel said. “We have finished with the courts in Greece and now we hope that the Human Rights Court can help restore the ransom money that the Jewish community paid to Germany.”

The ransom was paid to free some 9,000 of Thessaloniki’s Jewish men, aged 18 to 45, from forced labor by the Germans, who took control of the city in 1942. The German civilian administrator of the Thessaloniki , Max Merten, demanded some 2.5 billion drachmas to release them.

“They were sick and dying and starving and working without food, so the community collected the money to pay,” said Saltiel.

In total, 1.9 billion drachmas, or nearly $69 million, was paid before the Germans began transporting Thessaloniki Jews to the death camps. More than 49,000 Jews out of the city’s prewar Jewish population of 55,000 were deported. Fewer than 2,000 survived.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/thessaloniki-jews-suing-germany-in-european-human-rights-court/2014/02/24/

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