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AVAILABLE EXPERT - Canadian hostage executed in the Philippines

Monday, April 25, 2016

Queen's University security expert Christian Leuprecht is available to comment on the execution of Canadian John Ridsdel by members of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines. Mr. Ridsdel had been held hostage by the group since September of 2015.

“Abu Sayyaf has a notorious track-record of over two and a half decades of extreme violence,” says Dr. Leuprecht. “Multiple other criminal activities aside, it regularly abducts foreigners for ransom, and has executed hostages in the past. The reported beheading of John Ridsdel thus fits the pattern, and is likely meant to increase pressure for ransom payments in exchange for the remaining hostages, both three who were kidnapped along with John Ridsdel and others being held by the group.”

Dr. Leuprecht adds that, while there are examples of safe resolution to hostage crisises – such as Amanda Lindhout or Bob Fowler and Louis Guay in Niger - in other cases, they end in tragedy, in part due to the Canadian government’s long-standing policy of not negotiating with terrorists.

“Sometimes families attempt ransom payments unilaterally, but even when ransoms are paid, release is no guarantee.  As a result, Canadians are prudent to exercise caution when travelling in more volatile parts of the world and heed travel advisories issues by Global Affairs Canada and local governments,” he says.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Chris Armes (613-533-6000 ext. 77513 or chris.armes@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.caat Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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