How to Free A Hostage

Kidnapping foreigners is a booming business in Iraq, but there is a science to winning their release

As violence raged in several Sunni towns west of Baghdad on April 8, Mohammed Rifat steered his green Jeep Cherokee out of the gates of Abu Ghraib prison, where he worked as a construction foreman for a Kellogg Brown & Root subcontractor. Rifat, 41, who returned to Iraq in February after 24 years in Toronto, was heading home to care for his aging mother. He never made it. Somewhere in the night, his family believes, kidnappers stopped his vehicle and spirited him away. This is everyone's worst nightmare in the new Iraq. A bewildering variety of groups--some seeking money, some pushing...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!