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Three weeks ago on 27th April, Trevor Reed was freed in a prisoner swap deal between the United States and Russia. Trevor is an American citizen and former US Marine who was wrongfully imprisoned in Russia since 16 August 2019. On this episode, we’ll hear from Trevor’s father, Joey Reed on what it was like seeing Trevor being released, how they’re doing now, what’s next for the Reed family and what should President Biden do to bring the other Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad home.There are very few people in the world who truly understand what it’s like to be in Trevor’s shoes right now. The ones that do tend to be former hostages as well. On this episode, we’ll hear messages for Trevor from former hostages – Michael White, Michael Scott Moore and Sam Goodwin. They give Trevor some good advice based on their own experience.Trevor was not the only American and former US Marine wrongfully imprisoned in Russia. Paul Whelan has been held in Russia since December 2018. Unfortunately Paul was not included in this prisoner swap and was left behind. We’ll hear a message from Paul’s sister, Elizabeth Whelan for Trevor.Finally, we end this episode talking about secondary trauma and how it affects campaigners like ourselves. For this reason, we’ll be taking a one month break to recharge and make some upgrades to our podcast. We’ll be back with our next episode on 15 June 2022. In the meantime, please do listen to all our previous episodes if you haven’t already. Thank you for listening to Pod Hostage Diplomacy.Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show
Robert Pether and his colleague, Khalid Radwan were both detained in Baghdad on 7 April 2021 after they went to Iraq to resolve a business dispute between the Iraqi government and their Dubai-based employer, CME Consulting. CME Consulting which is an engineering firm was working on the new headquarters for the Central Bank of Iraq. The project was hit by delays and increased costs due to the COVID pandemic and a dispute arose whereby the Iraqi government demanded the return of $12 million USD paid to CME Consulting. As a result of this dispute between the Iraqi government and CME Consulting – both Robert Pether and Khalid Radwan who work for the company were detained and put in prison. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has stated that their detention is arbitrary and has called for their immediate release.We interviewed Robert’s 18 year old son, Flynn Pether last month and unfortunately since then, things have gotten worse. Two new court cases have been brought against Robert and Khalid. They are also being sued for an additional $20 million USD. On this week’s episode, we are joined by Robert’s wife and Flynn’s mother – Desree Pether. Desree talks to us about what happened including recent developments, how this trauma has affected the family as well as what the Australian government, journalists and the public can do to help bring Robert back home to his family.Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show
One week ago on Wednesday 27th April, Trevor Reed – an innocent American citizen and former US Marine who had been wrongfully imprisoned in Russia for 985 days – was freed. Trevor was released in a prisoner swap deal between the United States and Russia. Trevor is now back home in the United States getting the medical attention he needs and surrounded by his loving family – his father, Joey – his mother, Paula – and his sister, Taylor. We have interviewed Trevor’s parents twice on Pod Hostage Diplomacy and we are very happy for them. We are also truly grateful for the efforts of President Biden, the US State Department, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Roger Carstens and his team, the Richardson Center as well as everyone else involved in securing Trevor’s release.With all that being said – the US government should have done better. They left a man behind. They left fellow American and former US Marine, Paul Whelan behind. We have interviewed the Whelan family twice as well. Last Wednesday was a day of mixed-emotions for Paul Whelan and his family when they found out that Trevor was being released and Paul was being left behind.On this episode, we are joined once again by Paul Whelan’s sister, Elizabeth Whelan. She tells us what Trevor’s release and Paul being left behind was like for her, for Paul and for the rest of the Whelan family. Elizabeth also talks to us about potentially changing her approach to campaigning, Brittney Griner and what President Biden, the State Department, journalists and the public can do to free Paul Whelan.After our interview with Elizabeth, you’ll also hear voice messages from the loved ones of other Americans held hostage or wrongfully imprisoned overseas specifically Majd Kamalmaz held in Syria, Tomeu Vadell held in Venezuela, Kai Li held in China, Paul Rusesabagina held in Rwanda and Jamshid Sharmahd held in Iran. They tell us their thoughts on Trevor’s release and talk about what President Biden now needs to do to bring their loved ones home too.Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show
American citizen Tomeu Vadell from Lake Charles, Louisiana has been wrongfully imprisoned in Venezuela since November 2017. Tomeu works for US oil company, CITGO and in November 2017, Tomeu was arrested in Caracas while he was down there for a business meeting with 5 of his other colleagues. Collectively, they’re known as the CITGO 6. The US government has stated that they are unlawfully detained.In October 2019, the Vadell family submitted Tomeu’s case to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD). It usually takes 6-12 months for UNWGAD to release their opinion on a case. It has been 2.5 years and to this day, the UNWGAD has not released an opinion on Tomeu Vadell. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Tomeu’s daughter, Cristina Vadell who talks to us about this UNWGAD delay and what needs to be done. Cristina also talks to us about her father’s current condition and how he is coping, the recent release of Gustavo Cardenas who is one of the CITGO 6 as well as the backlash from US opposition party politicians objecting to the Biden administration’s engagement with Venezuela which resulted in the release of two Americans including Gustavo.We end the episode talking about what the US government, news media and public can do to help bring Tomeu Vadell home to his family in Lake Charles, Louisiana.Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)
American citizen, Kai Li from New York has been wrongfully imprisoned in China since September 2016. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has called for his immediate release. On the 4th of November last year, a bipartisan group of 15 members of Congress wrote a letter to President of the United States Joe Biden urging him to bring Kai Li back home to the US.We had the honour of interviewing Kai Li’s son, Harrison Li in October last year. In recent weeks, the Chinese government have imposed one of the strictest COVID19 lockdowns in the world, in Shanghai. This is where Kai is being held. The prison authorities have cancelled Kai’s consular support phone calls with the US Embassy as well as his phone calls with his family back home in the United States.On this episode, we are joined once again by Kai’s son, Harrison Li. He talks to us about the recent developments in Shanghai, his concerns that the US government are not prioritising the return of Americans held in China as well as a disappointing virtual meeting he had with US National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan and the families of other Americans held hostage or wrongfully imprisoned overseas. We end this episode by talking about what President Biden, the news media and the public can do to help free Kai Li.Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)
Thursday 7th April 2022 marked the 1 year anniversary of Australian citizen Robert Pether’s wrongful imprisonment in Iraq. Robert Pether and his colleague, Khalid Radwan were both detained in Baghdad on 7 April 2021 after they went to Iraq to resolve a business dispute between the Iraqi government and their Dubai-based employer, CME Consulting. CME Consulting is an engineering firm that was hired by the Iraqi government to work on the new headquarters of the Central Bank of Iraq. The project was hit by delays and increased costs due to the COVID pandemic and a dispute arose whereby the Iraqi government demanded the return of $12 million USD paid to CME Consulting. As a result of this dispute between the Iraqi government and CME Consulting, both Robert Pether and Khalid Radwan who are employees of the company were arrested and put in prison.The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has stated that their detention is arbitrary and has called for their immediate release. The UN Working Group also stated that their detention is being used to “exercise leverage in a commercial transaction, in violation of international law”. Robert, his wife and 3 children live in Ireland. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Robert’s 18 year old son, Flynn Pether. Flynn talks to us about what happened, his father’s background, the conditions he’s being held in, his health issues, unfair trial as well as how the family have been coping with this ongoing trauma. We also discuss what the Australian government, CME Consulting, journalists and the public can do to help free Robert Pether. Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)
Michael White is an American citizen from Southern California. Michael served in the US Navy for 15 years and is one of 5 siblings, all of whom have served in the US Armed Forces. In 2012, Michael met his fiancé-to-be, Samaneh Abbasi on a Yahoo chatroom. He then travelled to Iran a total of three times to visit her. During Michael’s third trip to Iran in 2018, he was arrested by the Iranian authorities on false charges and wrongfully imprisoned for 683 days. In June 2020, Michael was released in a prisoner swap deal between the US and Iran. On this week’s episode, we have the honour of speaking to Michael himself. He walks us through his arrest, being tortured in prison, being forced to write a false confession, being put through a sham trial and being sentenced to 15 years in prison on false charges, getting COVID19 in prison as a cancer survivor who was still recovering from the effects of his chemotherapy before visiting Iran, assistance from the Swiss Embassy, being granted medical furlough and eventually being released in a prisoner swap deal. Michael also talks about his depression and difficulty reintegrating into society after coming back to the United States which led him to think about taking his own life. Michael is now suing the Iranian authorities for $1 Billion US Dollars to get compensation for what they did to him. We also discuss what the US government, news media and the public can do to prevent Iran from doing this again.Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)
American citizen Jorge Toledo from Houston, Texas has been wrongfully imprisoned in Venezuela since November 2017. He works for US oil company, CITGO and was arrested in Caracas with 5 of his colleagues while they were there for a business meeting. Collectively, they are known as the CITGO 6. The US government has called for their immediate release. On 8 March 2022, one of the CITGO 6, Gustavo Cardenas – was released. This is a positive step for the families of the 5 remaining members of the CITGO 6 as they are now hopeful their loved ones may come home soon.This is our fifth episode on the CITGO 6. So far we have interviewed the daughter of Tomeu Vadell, Veronica Vadell Weggeman and the daughter and niece of Alirio Jose Zambrano and Jose Luis Zambrano, Alexandra Zambrano Forseth. Please do check out these episodes if you haven’t already.On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Jorge Toledo’s son – Carlos Anez. Carlos talks to us about the release of Gustavo Cardenas and his father’s serious health issues requiring urgent care. According to Carlos, Jorge has chronic bronchitis and his kidneys are not functioning properly. Every piece of information Jorge’s family is getting so far indicates that Jorge’s organs are on track for an eventual failure. Carlos also talks about what happened to his father, his background, the conditions Jorge is being held in, the urgent need for medical care, the toll this has taken on his family, criticism of the Biden administration’s efforts to free Gustavo Cardenas by opposition party politicians and why the CITGO 6 families are pushing back on this criticism. We end the interview by discussing with Carlos what US President Joe Biden, Congress, State Department, journalists and the public can do to help free Jorge Toledo.Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)
During the early hours of Thursday morning 17th March 2022, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe arrived back home in the UK. She was freed after being held hostage in Iran for almost 6 years. She’s a British citizen and a charity worker from West Hampstead, London. She was arrested by the Iranian IRGC on 3 April 2016 when she was on holiday in Tehran visiting her elderly parents with her one year old daughter, Gabriella. Almost six years later, three members of Nazanin’s family were there to greet her at the Royal Air Force base when she landed – her husband Richard Ratcliffe who’s campaigned tirelessly for her freedom and has been on this podcast many times, her now seven year old daughter Gabriella and Nazanin’s younger brother, Mohammad Zaghari.Mohammad is one of the unsung heroes of the FreeNazanin campaign. He was in Tehran with Nazanin’s parents when she was arrested. He helped raise Gabriella for the three years she was in Iran separated from both parents. He brought Gabriella back to the UK in 2019 and had to leave his entire life in Iran behind because it was no longer safe for him to return home. On this week’s episode, we have the honour of speaking to Mohammad himself. He talks about Nazanin coming back home and what it was like to be reunited with her after all these years. Mohammad also talks about dealing with the Iranian authorities when Nazanin was taken, the trauma he experienced, visiting her in prison with Gabriella, the pressure the IRGC puts on the families, the threats, life in the UK, the long recovery journey ahead and what’s next for him. We also talk about the other hostages left behind in Iran, going public and Richard’s amazing campaigning. You’ll also hear voice messages from the loved ones of Nahid Taghavi, Jamshid Sharmahd, Fariba Adelkhah and Kamran Ghaderi – all innocent individuals from Germany, France and Austria still held in Iran. Their loved ones talk about how happy they are for Nazanin and her family as well as what needs to be done to Free Nahid, Free Jamshid, Free Fariba and Free Kamran.Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)
Diane Foley is the mother of five children, including American freelance conflict journalist, James W Foley. Jim was kidnapped in Syria on 22 November 2012 and he was murdered on 19 August 2014. Diane founded the James W Foley Legacy Foundation (JWFLF) in September 2014 less than a month after his public execution to ensure Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained overseas as well as their families are made a priority by the US government and given all the support they need. Diane is currently the President of the Foundation.This week, we have the honour of speaking to Diane Foley herself. She talks about her son, James and the JWFLF. We discuss the different types of hostage-taking, the difference between ‘hostage’ and ‘wrongful detainee’ classifications, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs office, American hostage Robert Levinson, the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act, support for the families, ensuring there is a punishment for hostage-taking e.g. sanctions, US government stance on not-negotiating with hostage-takers, the case for negotiating as well as the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations launched by Canada. We also discuss what businesses with operations and employees around the world, academic institutions, journalists, news organisations as well as the public can all do to help. Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)
On 16 October 2020, 66 year old German citizen Nahid Taghavi decided to go for a walk near her apartment in Tehran. It was a week after she had surgery and Nahid had high blood pressure. Within moments, she was surrounded by 12 armed men from the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps also known as the IRGC. She was arrested and taken to the notorious Evin prison where she remains to this day.The European Parliament has passed a resolution calling on Iran to drop all charges against Nahid Taghavi. Members of the German Bundestag from multiple political parties have stated that Nahid is unjustly detained and called for her release. Amnesty International has called Nahid Taghavi a prisoner of conscience. Nahid’s daughter believes she is being used as a bargaining chip by the IRGC to extract concessions from the German government. This would be hostage diplomacy.We had the honour of interviewing Nahid’s daughter, Mariam Claren in October 2021. Since then there have been significant developments around the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal negotiations in Vienna where talks on the release of foreign nationals wrongfully imprisoned in Iran are taking place at the same time. The families of these innocent individuals are worried that their loved ones may be left behind. On this episode, we speak once again to Mariam Claren. She talks about the possibility of her mother being released as part of the JCPOA deal, the possibility of her mother being left behind and how she’s been coping with this constant trauma. Mariam also tells us what the German government, the European Union, journalists and the public can do to help free Nahid Taghavi.Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)
In 2012, German-American journalist Michael Scott Moore was investigating pirate kidnappings in Somalia when he himself was taken hostage by Somali pirates. Michael was taken at gunpoint, held in terrible conditions and in many different locations including at one point – on a ship. A few days into his captivity, SEAL Team 6 successfully rescued 2 aid workers, American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Hagen Thisted also held by Somali pirates but in a different location. During that rescue, 9 pirates were killed. As a result, the pirates holding Michael were determined to make sure there wasn’t going to be another successful rescue. He ended up being held in captivity for 977 days.This week, we have the honour of speaking to Michael himself. He walks us through his captivity, how he was taken, the terrible conditions, the different locations he was held in, the other hostages who were with him, the $20 million dollar ransom demand, how his mother was working to secure his release, the media blackout around his kidnapping, keeping fit while in captivity, his failed escape attempt and how the pirates responded, getting sick, finding the will to survive and his eventual release. Michael also talks about his ongoing recovery from this trauma, his advice for other former hostages, military vs diplomatic options for hostage rescue, a SEAL Team 6 plan to rescue him, the US government’s stance on not negotiating with hostage-takers, payment of ransoms as well as media coverage. We also talk about the importance of journalism and how the public can help.Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)
Jonathan Franks is a crisis management consultant for families of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained overseas. Jonathan has worked with the family of Marine veteran Andrew Tahmooressi held in Mexico as well as Marine veteran Amir Hekmati and Navy veteran Michael White both held in Iran. All these men have now been freed. Jonathan is now working with the family of American and former US Marine, Trevor Reed currently held in Russia since August 2019.On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Jonathan himself. We discuss the work he does for American families, his background as a former staff member within the US House of Representatives and his key advice for American families with a loved one held hostage or wrongfully detained overseas. We also discuss campaigning approaches, how to communicate with the public, message discipline, engaging with the media, appearance on camera, racism in media coverage and workarounds as well as what the US government needs to do better to bring Americans held overseas home and what the public can do to help.Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)
American citizen and former US Marine, Trevor Reed has been wrongfully imprisoned in Russia since 16 August 2019. President of the United States Joe Biden, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan have all called on Russia to release Trevor immediately and allow him to return home to his family in Texas. Both the US Senate and House of Representatives have passed bipartisan resolutions calling for Trevor’s immediate release.Trevor’s parents believe that he is being held by the Russian government at the request of the Russian security agency, the FSB so he can be used as a bargaining chip to extract concessions from the United States. This would be hostage diplomacy. We had the honour of interviewing Trevor’s parents, Joey and Paula Reed in September. Worrying developments have taken place since our last conversation five months ago. On this episode, we speak to Joey and Paula Reed again.We discuss the potential consequences to Trevor if Russia further invades Ukraine and how he’s recovering after contracting COVID-19 in prison. We also discuss what President Biden needs to do, their recent meeting with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, how they’ve been coping, assistance the US government could potentially provide families of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained overseas as well as how the US Marine Corps, journalists and the public can help bring Trevor home. Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)
American citizen, Tomeu Vadell from Louisiana has been wrongfully imprisoned in Venezuela since November 2017. He was arrested while on a business trip in Caracas with five of his American colleagues. All six men worked for US oil company, Citgo. Collectively, they’re known as the Citgo 6. The US government has publicly stated that the Citgo 6 are unlawfully detained. Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and current US Secretary of State Antony Blinken have both called for their unconditional release. Their families believe they are being held as bargaining chips to extract concessions from the United States. This would be hostage diplomacy.We spoke to Tomeu’s daughter, Veronica Vadell Weggeman in September 2021 to find out what happened to him and what we can do to help. Five months later, there have been worrying developments.On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Veronica Vadell Weggeman once again. She talks to us about recent developments affecting her father and the rest of the Citgo 6, what the US government specifically President Biden, the State Department and Congress need to do, how Tomeu and his family have been coping, better support needed for families of American hostages and wrongful detainees as well as what journalists and the American public can do to help bring the Citgo 6 home.Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)
French academic Fariba Adelkhah has been wrongfully imprisoned in Iran since 5 June 2019. French President Emmanuel Macron has called for Fariba’s immediate release and denounced her incarceration as “totally arbitrary”. President Macron also stated that “Fariba Adelkhah is a scientific prisoner”. Scholars At Risk have called for Fariba’s immediate release and for the protection of academic freedom in Iran and beyond. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Fariba’s colleague and member of the Free Fariba Support Committee, Sandrine Perrot.Sandrine walks us through what happened to Fariba, her background, the conditions she’s being held in, her health issues as well as her unfair trial and sentence. Sandrine also talks about how the Free Fariba Support Committee was created, the toll Fariba’s imprisonment has taken on her loved ones, what the French government and European Union can do to free Fariba as well as how journalists and the public can help.If you would like more information on the campaign to free Fariba Adelkhah, please visit the Free Fariba Support Committee website here (https://faribaroland.hypotheses.org/). You can also raise awareness of Fariba’s case on social media by posting about her using the hashtag FreeFariba.Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)
American citizen and former US Marine, Paul Whelan has been wrongfully imprisoned in Russia since 28 December 2018. President of the United States Joe Biden, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan have all called on Russia to release Paul Whelan and let him come home to his family in Michigan.We had the honour of interviewing Paul’s sister, Elizabeth Whelan in September 2021 to find out what happened to Paul and what we can do to help. Four months later, there have been significant and worrying developments. On this episode, Elizabeth Whelan joins us once again. We discuss escalating tensions between the US and Russia as the Russians appear to be getting ready to further invade Ukraine. We also discuss what the US government needs to do better, how American businesses with operations in Russia can help as well as what news outlets and the American public can do to free Paul Whelan. We have interviewed eight American families to date with loved ones held hostage or wrongfully imprisoned overseas. The common problem they all face is that they don’t know where to start when working to free their loved one. There is currently no playbook to provide guidance to these families and they all end up having to reinvent the wheel. The Whelan family have taken the initiative and created a set of resources for American families in this situation. Elizabeth tells us more about these resources and where you can access them for free.Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)
Jamshid Sharmahd is a German citizen and US resident. He and his family have lived in California for the last 17 years. In July 2020, Jamshid was kidnapped in Dubai by agents of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and taken to Iran where he is still being held today. The EU Parliament adopted a resolution in July 2021 urging Iran to immediately drop all charges against all arbitrarily detained EU nationals including Jamshid. Amnesty International has stated that he is being arbitrarily detained and has called for his immediate release. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Gazelle Sharmahd, Jamshid’s daughter.Gazelle talks about what happened to her father, his serious health issues, not knowing how he is doing as Jamshid hasn’t been allowed to contact his family, Iran’s notoriously unfair and rigged judicial system, her father’s background, previous assassination attempts as well as how this ongoing trauma has impacted her family. We also discuss the support the Sharmahd family has received from the German and US governments to date, what these governments need to do better to bring Jamshid home, the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal negotiations currently taking place in Vienna, her open letter to US President Biden with other American hostage families as well as how journalists and members of the public can help. Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)
American citizens and brothers from Texas, Alirio Jose Zambrano and Jose Luis Zambrano have been wrongfully imprisoned in Venezuela for over 4 years now. They both work for US oil company, Citgo and were arrested in Caracas in November 2017 together with four of their American colleagues. Collectively, they are known as the Citgo 6.The US government has publicly stated that the Citgo 6 are unlawfully detained. Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and current US Secretary of State Antony Blinken have both called for their unconditional release. Their families believe they are being held as bargaining chips to extract concessions from the United States. This would be hostage diplomacy.On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Alirio Jose Zambrano’s daughter, Alexandra Zambrano Forseth. She talks about what happened to her father and uncle as well as recent developments including one of the Citgo 6 members having a heart attack and the US Special Envoy For Hostage Affairs, Roger Carstens visiting the Citgo 6 in prison in Venezuela. She also talks about her father and uncle’s medical conditions, the toll this has taken on her family, what the US government, Congress and President Biden should be doing better to bring the Citgo 6 home as well as how journalists and the American public can help.Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)
Kamran Ghaderi is a husband and father from Vienna, Austria. He went to Iran on 2 January 2016 to visit family and was arrested at the airport in Tehran by agents of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence. He has been held in Iran to this day and in a couple weeks, it’ll be 6 years since he was taken.The European Parliament has passed a resolution calling for Kamran’s release. Amnesty International has stated that Kamran is being arbitrarily detained and has also called for his immediate release.On this week’s episode, we speak to Kamran’s wife, Harika Ghaderi. We talk about Kamran’s arrest, his torture, forced “confessions”, unfair trial, the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal talks in Vienna as well as the toll Kamran’s detention has taken on his family. We also discuss what the Austrian government, European Union, journalists and the public can do to help bring Kamran back home to his wife and 3 young children in Vienna.Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)
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