A letter from the leadership of al-Qaeda’s North Africa branch to its erstwhile employee, regional terrorist chief Moktar Belmoktar, confirms that a ransom of about $950,000 was paid for the release of Canadian diplomats Robert Fowler and Louis Guay in 2009.
At the time of the diplomats’ release, Stephen Harper said the Canadian government did not pay a ransom. This is true, if misleading. As Maclean’s reported then, the ransom was paid by Germany and Switzerland to release their own captive nationals, with a bit extra thrown in to free Fowler and Guay. Al Qaeda prisoners were also released as part of the deal.