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British Nationals Abroad: Ransom

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 13th June 2011.

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Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on the payment of ransoms abroad by British companies or nationals.

Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The Government have a long-standing policy of not making or facilitating substantive concessions to hostage-takers. We maintain this consistent policy because we believe that to make substantive concessions such as paying ransoms would reward the act of hostage-taking and encourage future kidnaps of British nationals. Although the payment of a ransom by a third party to a criminal gang is not illegal under UK law, the Government are firm that we do not, and will not, become involved in activity that could facilitate such a payment. Payment of a ransom to a United Nations designated terrorist group or individual would contravene the al-Qaeda and Taliban sanctions regime established by UN Security Resolution 1267 (1999).

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