Italy: Christmas Gift

Menaced, maimed, then freed

Over the past two decades, Italians have certainly seen more than their share of photographs portraying forlorn kidnap victims. But this one was particularly pathetic: a woman and her son huddled together, chains around their necks, a pistol held to the woman's left temple, the right side of the youth's face caked with dried blood. In a barbaric attempt to force a ransom payment rumored to be as large as $4.2 million, the kidnapers apparently had cut off the youth's ear. If the money was not forthcoming, they warned, their two captives would be slaughtered.

The latest victims...

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