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US to soften hostage ransom policy: report

Still image taken from video and released by the SITE INtelligence Group shows Warren Weinstein, a US contractor held by Al-Qaeda militants, on December 26, 2013US officials are expected to stop prosecuting families of American hostages who communicate with kidnappers abroad or raise funds and pay ransoms, ABC news reported Sunday. A National Counterterrorism Center advisory group, ordered by the White House, is expected to recommend what would mark a radical shift in US hostage policy, according to the report. The NCTC interviewed families of hostages, including the parents of journalist James Foley, who was killed by Islamic State fighters. Foley’s mother Diane has said that officials from President Barack Obama’s administration repeatedly told her family it was illegal to try to raise a ransom to free her son, and warned that her family could face prosecution for doing so.

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