Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | War on Terrorism | james foley | family | ransom | policy | isis

James Foley Family: New Ransom Policy Faces Strong 'Litmus Test'

Image: James Foley Family: New Ransom Policy Faces Strong 'Litmus Test'
President Barack Obama announces changes to the government's hostage policy in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 24 Jun 2015 05:26 PM

The parents of slain American journalist James Foley Wednesday welcomed Obama administration changes to allow families to pay ransom to hostage kidnappers but cautioned that "the litmus test of this new hostage recovery process will be the safe return of Americans" being held abroad.

"We never want any family to ever have to endure what we have gone through," John and Diane Foley said. "It is time for our great nation to make American hostages and their families a top priority."

They established a foundation in their son's name after his brutal beheading by the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2014 "to build on this awakening to make kidnapped Americans a true priority and to make this new hostage recovery effort real and sustainable," the Foleys said.

James Foley, 40, of Rochester, N.H., was a freelance journalist whom ISIS kidnapped in Syria in November 2012 and executed in August 2014. He was the first American killed by the terrorist group.

His gruesome killing was taped and posted online.

ISIS has since slaughtered three other Americans and dozens of others, including Coptic Christians and Ethiopian Christians. Last December, terrorists killed four Christian children because they refused to embrace Islam.

President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that families of Americans held hostage by terrorists would not face criminal prosecution for paying ransoms to their captors.

He conceded that the U.S. government had let down hostages' families. The change came after a six-month review of the administration's hostage policies.

Thirty-five Americans are being held as hostages abroad, John and Diane Foley said. Their captors include ISIS, al-Qaida and other terrorists.

"These families have already suffered enough and they should never feel ignored or victimized by their own government," Obama said at the White House.

The Foleys were among many families who bitterly attacked the Obama administration for providing them with confusing and contradictory information and threatening them with prosecution for considering paying terrorists to secure the release of hostages.

In a statement to Newsmax, John and Diane Foley praised the panel that reviewed the administration's hostage policy for "shining a spotlight on the silent crisis of American citizens kidnapped abroad.

"Too often, the average American has no idea that Americans working abroad are being kidnapped, held against their will, often starved and tortured," they said. "The rise of terrorism has hugely increased the risk for courageous journalists, humanitarian workers, diplomats, students, and tourists."

The Foleys also commended the committee for "their willingness to examine the previously inadequate response to the kidnapping of American citizens abroad."

The parents praised their son for his work as a freelance journalist.

"James W. Foley was like so many Americans," they said. "He was idealistic, and passionately believed in freedom and justice. He believed that press freedom was vital to our democracy.

"He wanted fellow Americans to know the suffering and courage of Middle Eastern families and their yearning for similar freedoms.

"He went into harm’s way, fully knowing the risk to personal safety," they said. "He trusted that his work as a conflict journalist was valued by fellow Americans and thus by his government."

The Foleys said they established the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation "immediately after Jim’s brutal murder to continue Jim’s courageous work for the voiceless, for press freedom to reveal the deep suffering of families amid war, for kidnapped citizens, for freelance journalists and photographers in conflict zones, and for at risk youth.

"Jim wanted to make a difference in the world," his parents said. "Perhaps his horrific death was necessary to awaken the American public and our government."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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The parents of slain American journalist James Foley Wednesday welcomed Obama administration changes to allow families to pay ransom to hostage kidnappers but cautioned that "the litmus test of this new hostage recovery process will be the safe return of Americans" being held abroad.
james foley, family, ransom, policy, isis, hostages
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2015-26-24
Wednesday, 24 Jun 2015 05:26 PM
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