A Danish photographer who was kidnapped by Islamic State terrorists is ‘drowning in debt’ and facing a daily struggle to deal with the ordeal he was put through.
Daniel Rye Ottosen was held in Syria for 13 months along side the two Americans and two Britons who were murdered on film by a London jihadi terrorist.
He was freed following a secret fundraising campaign by his family and friends which a Danish newspaper, Ekstra Bladet, estimated at about £1.3 million.
Whilst he was freed, the Obama and Cameron administrations refused to give in to demands to trade their lives for cash and told the families of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, David Haines and Alan Henning not to give in to ‘a blitz of death threats’.
The Danish government claims it has a similar policy.
A British Foreign Office spokesman said it was against international law to pay ransom to terrorists: “The UK Government’s policy of not making or facilitating substantive concessions to hostage-takers, including the payment of ransom, is long standing and clear. Ransom payments to terrorists are illegal under UK and international law.”
The spokesman added: “No one should interpret that as our not doing everything we can in every case to help the family and the hostage.They further sought to clarify the legality of the situation by stating:
“In the case of criminal kidnaps, it is not illegal to pay a ransom under UK law. Although the Government will neither make nor facilitate payment.
This means that technically the family who paid the ransom could be charged and put on trial at the ICC in The Hague.
But Daniel’s older sister Anita decided to take matters into her own hands after over a year of knowing her brother was in mortal peril and facing torture and abuse. She confirmed that a huge sum was paid for her brother’s release in June.
On a Facebook page to collect money for Daniel, she writes:
“Daniel struggles every day ‘Daniel struggles every day — a struggle to make sense of the violent experiences and find his way back to normal life.
She confirmed that a ransom was paid for Daniel’s release, writing: “On Thursday, June 19, 2014, my little brother, Daniel Rye, was released after 13 tough months as a hostage in Sy’Due to the circumstances, Daniel did not go public (about this), which is why I have chosen to do so on his behalf.
“A secret collection, started by Daniel’s family and friends, allowed Daniel’s release.
“Unfortunately, the total cost to get Daniel released proved to be higher than the amount already collected. Daniel is therefore obliged to ask for an extra helping hand, so he is not left alone with debts of around 1 million kroner (£86,000).”
As of mid October the Facebook appeal had brought in only about £25,300 of the £86,000 short fall, Anita confirmed in an exclusive interview with MailOnline.
Daniel is said to have witnessed the torture of another cellmate, James Foley, who was waterboarded and subjected to mock executions.
Mr Foley had asked Daniel to memorise a letter which, on his release, he told to Mr Foley’s mother Diane on the phone. A week later, James Foley was murdered on camera.
Diane Foley said that the Obama administration had threatened to prosecute her family if they paid the ransom demanded from the IS terrorists. A spokesman from the Sotloff family claimed they received similar threats.
However, President Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough contested the opinion the family were threatened, saying “We didn’t threaten anybody, but we made clear what the law is.”
A Foreign Office spokesperson had a similar message to the US:
“The UK Government’s policy of not making or facilitating substantive concessions to hostage-takers, including the payment of ransoms, is long standing and clear. Not paying ransoms to terrorists prevents millions of pounds reaching terrorists. Ransoms fuel the cycle of terrorist violence and encourage further kidnappings.”
The illegality of paying ransoms is confirmed by United Nations Security Council Resolution 2133 of January 2014 which states:
the Council reaffirmed resolution 1373 (2001) — the wide-ranging text it adopted following the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States — in particular, its decisions that all States shall prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts, and refrain from providing support to any entities or persons involved, including by suppressing recruitment of members of terrorist groups and eliminating the supply of weapons to them. All States should prohibit their nationals, or any persons or entities within their territories, from making funds, financial assets or economic resources available for the benefit of those involved in terrorist acts.