Monday, February 25, 2008


Held to Ransom: Court Rules Hostages Must Pay for own Rescue

‘No person in their right mind aspires to be taken hostage, but now there’s even more reason to avoid the experience. According to a court ruling reached on Thursday in Berlin, Germans who are taken hostage abroad can now be required to cover the costs incurred by their release.

The ruling of the Berlin-Brandenburg Higher Administrative Court is based on the case of Reinhilt Weigel. On Sept. 12, 2003, the Bremen physiotherapist, together with six other tourists, was kidnapped by leftist rebels while visiting the ruined ancient city of Ciudad Perdida in northern Colombia.

After 10 weeks in captivity, she and Spanish fellow hostage Huegun Etxeberria were rescued by helicopter from a jungle hide-out. But there was an unexpected postscript to the story two months after Weigel’s return home, when the German Foreign Ministry asked her to pay €12,640 ($18,735) for the helicopter flight.’

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