Following the death of a Canadian hostage in the Philippines, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is insisting Canada will not pay ransom to terrorists.
Trudeau is responding to more questions about the murder of Canadian John Ridsdel, who was kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf militants in the Philippines last fall.
Speaking with reporters in Alberta on Tuesday, Trudeau denied reports suggesting he and senior ministers were involved in negotiating with the captors, who were demanding $8 million per hostage.
“My conversations with President (Benigno) Aquino of the Philippines were concentrated on ensuring that we bring these terrorists to justice, while at the same time ensuring the continued safety of Canadians while not in any circumstances paying a ransom to terrorist organizations or terrorists,” said Trudeau.
Trudeau cited two reasons for his refusal to pay ransoms, with the first being that it helps fund terrorist organizations so they can commit crimes around the world.
“But more importantly,” he added, “paying ransom for Canadians would endanger the lives of every single one of the millions of Canadians who live, work and travel around the globe every single year.”
Ridsdel is a 68-year-old former mining executive who also held British citizenship. He and fellow Canadian Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipino Marites Flor were kidnapped from an upscale resort complex by Abu Sayyaf militants last September.
A video emerged on April 15th, showing Ridsdel and Hall asking the Canadian government to pay their ransom or they would be beheaded.
On Monday, Trudeau announced Ridsdel had been beheaded by Abu Sayyaf militants after a ransom deadline had passed, calling it a “heinous act.”
“Canada condemns without reservation the brutality of the hostage takers in this unnecessary death,” Trudeau said. “This was an act of cold-blooded murder and responsibility rests squarely with the terrorist group who took him hostage.”
Risdel’s family released a statement late Monday saying they were “devastated” by the news of his death.
“Our family is devastated at loss of our father and brother John Ridsdel whose life was tragically cut short by this senseless act of violence despite us doing everything within our power to bring him home,” the statement read. “He was loved by all his friends and adored by his daughters, sister, and extended family. He will be sorely missed in the days to come.”
The Philippine military came under increased scrutiny Tuesday to rescue more than 20 foreign hostages, with officials claiming “there will be no let up” in the effort to combat the militants.