Captive Canadian Woman Feared Dead in Pakistan

The Globe and Mail – March 17, 2011
Kidnapped in northern Pakistan in November 2008, West Vancouver’s Beverly Giesbrecht had dreamed of getting an interview with Osama bin Laden. A few months ago, there were unconfirmed reports in Pakistan media that she had died in captivity.
“She was in poor health going in,” her friend Mr. Cooper said of Ms. Giesbrecht, 53, a self-styled freelance journalist, who published a pro-Islamic website, Jihad Unspun, that was sympathetic to the Taliban. Mr. Cooper said he believes she died of hepatitis, after becoming sick while being held in unsanitary conditions.
Ms. Giesbrecht, who converted to Islam and took the name Khadija Abdul Qahaar, went to Pakistan in the summer of 2008 to conduct research on terrorism and with the hopes of interviewing top Taliban officials. Her visa application in Canada was supported by two letters from Al-Jazeera, but she wasn’t on staff with any media outlet, nor did she have a specific assignment. Pakistan government officials tried to negotiate through intermediaries for the release of Ms. Giesbrecht, but Mr. Cooper said the ransom demand – which in March, 2009, was for $375,000 (U.S.) – kept changing, and no deal was ever made.

French Diplomat Evades His Somali Captors

French security agent kidnapped by insurgents in Somalia last month said he escaped while his captors slept, then walked five hours through one of the most dangerous cities in the world to safety at the country’s presidential palace.

Marc Aubriere, who was seized along with another agent in July 14, denied reports that he killed any of his captors during his escape. Mr. Aubriere and another agent were kidnapped from a hotel in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, then split up between the rebel groups al-Shabab and its ally Hizbul-Islam. The second hostage was still being held.