Michael Scott Moore: Journalist Freed After $1.6 Million Ransom Paid

Michael Scott Moore, a German-American journalist, was released by Somali pirates on Tuesday after being held prisoner for almost three years.

Moore was researching for a book on piracy with assistance from a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting when he was kidnapped in January 2012, according to Newsmax. As Michael Scott Moore was driving from the airport, he was kidnapped by the pirates in the northern Somali town of Galkayo.

Michael holds both U.S. and German citizenship but is from Redondo Beach, California.

The pirates who held Michael Moore reached a deal with negotiators to release him when a $1.6 million ransom was paid. According to the Associated Press, a German spokeswoman refused to comment on whether the ransom was paid, and it is widely known the United States does not pay ransoms according to its policy.

German foreign ministry spokeswoman Sawsan Chebli said “the German government cannot be blackmailed” and had no comment about who paid the ransom or how the release was negotiated to obtain Moore.

Bile Hussein, a Somali pirate commander, told the Associated Press the pirates were tired of holding onto their prisoner and were concerned the U.S. would use force to free Michael Moore. Hussein claimed a deal was reached for $1.6 million, but would not offer more details.

Chebli claimed the United States worked closely with the German Foreign Ministry crisis group and German federal police to free Michael Scott Moore. The U.S. military would not comment on its involvement in the matter or whether Moore would be taken back to the United States.

Moore released a short statement through the German magazine Der Spiegel, a magazine for which he freelanced in the past, on Thursday to let the public know he is safe and needs time to recover from his traumatic ordeal.

“I’m not healthy but I am safe. It’s an astonishing story but right now I have to recover my wits and spend time with family and friends. I hope journalists will respect that.”

Wolfgang Buechner, the editor of Der Spielgel, was grateful for the release of Michael Moore and thankful for those who helped secure his release.

“We never gave up hope and we’re happy now with Michael and his mother Marlis that this nightmare is finally over.”

Chebli claimed Michael was in Nairobi, Kenya, at the German Embassy, but German officials there claimed Michael Scott Moore was not present.

[Image via New York Post]