No ransom. No “prisoner” exchange. But…

I spoke with Scott Taylor yesterday on the subject of kidnappings—he’s something of an expert on that—and his take on the various ethical implications of Mellissa Fung’s capture and release. You’ll find the ensuing Q&A here.

Most notably, he told me he doubted the official line that no ransom or prisoners would have been exchanged for Fung’s release. And he rather presciently suggested that Afghan intelligence forces might have employed some, shall we say, un-Canadian techniques in an attempt to to improve the hand they were holding.

They wouldn’t necessarily operate within the same bounds that we would here in Canada. By that I mean, [any] people who were exchanged may not have been, in fact, in captivity when this thing first began. [Afghan forces] may have picked up the suspected relatives of the people they thought were holding [Fung]. A Crown prosecutor’s not going to go out and pick up somebody’s relatives and say, “you turn them over or [else].” They play by different rules, and they know the players.

And indeed, Fung has apparently confirmed in an interview that as far as she understands, “Afghan intelligence had sort of fingered the family of the ringleader of this gang and had arrested a whole bunch of them. … They agreed to release the family if the group would release me, and that’s what ended up happening.”

Insta-update: Aaron Wherry helpfully recaps all the things this does not represent: namely, “ransom,” “any other kind of goods or services passed on, either through a third party or insurers or otherwise,” and “release or exchange of political prisoners.” I suspect the kidnappers’ relatives might differ on that last point, if Fung’s understanding is correct.




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