The family of Kayla Mueller is expected to speak out today against the way the White House handled the hostage situation of their daughter. Mueller was allegedly “tortured, raped and killed” while in ISIS captivity but her family says that the government hindered their ability to pay ransom demands. The family believes that the government ultimately made it impossible for them to save their daughter from her Islamic State captors by discouraging their attempts to pay ransom and by negotiating with the terrorists during the Berghdahl prisoner exchange.
The Daily Mail reports that Marsha and Carl Mueller are preparing to expose the “heartbreaking story” of their daughter’s ISIS captivity and their attempts to pay the ransom demanded by the Islamic State only to have those efforts hindered by the American government. The family says they attempted to save their 26-year-old daughter, Kayla Mueller, after she was taken captive by ISIS while working as a relief worker in Syria. Kayla, who was from Arizona, was described by her parents as having a “special heart and mind to not only see suffering in its many forms but to reach out and find a way to help those God placed before her.”
Following confirmed reports of Kayla’s death in February of 2015, the Mueller family went silent to grieve the loss of their daughter. However, it seems their mourning period is over and the family is ready to speak out about what happened to their daughter at the hands of her ISIS captors as well as exposing issues that they faced with the American government when trying to pay ransom in a bid to get their daughter back home.
It’s been 1yr since Kayla Mueller died in IS captivity. Today her family released a photo of last time she was home pic.twitter.com/K35FTLWXbA
— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) February 4, 2016
Other ISIS captives have reported that Kayla was tortured and raped by ISIS militants and was made the “wife” of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who allegedly raped the young American and tortured her while in his spousal care. The Mueller family has released an official statement, the first one since the confirmed death of Kayla, noting that “the heartbreaking story of our efforts to bring Kayla home and of those who helped and those who hindered us will be told.”
Therefore, the statement seems to indicate that the Mueller family plans to speak out about their attempts to pay Kayla’s ISIS captors ransom but the trouble they encountered from the White House during the process. It is known that the American government has attempted to help some families pay ransom in hostage situations; however, some departments of the federal government are not so keen on the exchange of funds for captives as they claim it promotes terrorism. The State Department is one such area of the government that does not support the payment of ransom to terrorist groups.
“The Treasury and the State Department — took a hard line, asserting that any such payments would only encourage further hostage-taking and even violate U.S. laws against providing ‘material support’ to terror groups.”
However, many families of hostages who were killed in captivity have claimed the White House has threatened them with potential legal action if they raised the ransom funds on their own. James Foley’s mother claimed that a White House counterterrorism official told them they could face charges if they attempted to exchange money with the Islamic State in a bid to have Foley released. Following both the Foley and Sotloff families going public with the threats made should they choose to attempt to pay ransom for their family member, the White House began a review that led to a new hostage policy last year.
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) February 5, 2016
The new policy made it clear that ransom would be acceptable in some cases and that families would not be prosecuted for attempting to pay ransom for a family member being held by terrorist groups. However, the Mueller family says there were other issues aside from the inability to pay ransom due to concerns of prosecution by the American government. Kayla’s brother, Eric Mueller, said that the Bowe Berghdahl prisoner exchange also hurt their chance of getting Kayla back.
“That made the whole situation worse. Because that’s when the demands got greater. They got larger. They realized that they had something. They realized that, ‘Well, if they’re gonna let five people go for one person, why won’t they do this? Or why won’t they do that.”
What do you think about the Mueller family’s claims that the White House hindered Kayla’s return by agreeing to the Berghdahl prisoner exchange and hindering their ability to attempt to pay ransom to ISIS for their daughter?
[Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]