Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has ruled out paying ransom to terrorists in the wake of the beheading of a Canadian hostage by Philippine militant group Abu Sayyaf. He has also promised to urge other nations to stop paying terrorists to release captives.
Taking a hard line on the debate over whether governments should pay a ransom, he said: "Canada does not and will not pay ransom to terrorists, directly or indirectly."
There was speculation that Ottawa might pay the terrorist group to save two other captives – Robert Hall, a Canadian, and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad – but this has been strongly denied. Trudeau restated the Canadian policy after the Canadian hostage John Ridsdel was beheaded by the militants for not paying ransom.
"We agreed that it is something that we are going to make sure we do bring up with our friends and allies around the world. We need to make sure that terrorists understand that they cannot continue to fund their crimes and their violence (by) taking innocents hostage," said the prime minister.
Ridsdel, 68, was kidnapped along with Hall and Sekkingstad in September 2015 while they were on vacation. The Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf threatened to execute the Canadian on 25 April if the government failed to pay the ransom.
Hall was also seen in the latest video released by the Islamist group pleading with the government to step up their efforts. "I'm wondering what they're waiting for," he was heard saying in the video after declaring that the Canadian government "has the capacity to get us out of here".
Trudeau added he spoke to Prime Minister David Cameron regarding the matter and said Britain also shares the policy of not paying any ransom to terrorists. He said Cameron had expressed his condolences for the murder of Ridsdel, who held a dual British citizenship.