Once the plutocrats' plague, kidnapping for ransom in Mexico has gone decidedly mass market.
In the face of news that at least 20 tourists had just been kidnapped in Acapulco, the Mexican government has announced the preparation of a plan to alter the nation's police structure that would essentially federalize the country's 2,200 local police departments under a unified command.
Peru's Supreme Court has confirmed a verdict finding Alberto Fujimori guilty of ordering the kidnapping and murder of 25 dissidents during his presidency from 1990 to 2000. His 25-year sentence marks the first time a democratically elected Latin American ruler was found guilty of human rights abuses in his own country.
Joining forces for a press conference at Camp David on Monday, President Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai refused the Taliban's proposal for a prisoner swap. The Taliban says it will free the 21 surviving South Korean Christians kidnapped in Afghanistan on July 19 if captive Taliban members are released.
According to the testimony of two American civilian contractors, the construction of the massive U.S. Embassy in Iraq involved the tacit abduction and abuse of migrant workers. One contractor testified that he was told to furtively escort a group of Filipinos onto a Baghdad-bound plane even though their tickets read "Dubai," while another called working conditions at the $600-million project "deplorable."
Alan Johnston, a correspondent in Gaza for the BBC, has been released to Hamas by his captors after they held him for roughly four months. Hamas said Johnston's release was a sign that it was restoring order to Gaza, which it recently seized from rival faction Fatah. Johnston says he stayed on top of the news of his captivity by listening to the BBC World Service on the radio.
BBC reporter Alan Johnston will spend his 45th birthday in captivity. He was kidnapped nine weeks ago in Gaza, where he had worked for three years. The BBC will mark his birthday with candlelight vigils in cities around the world.
After paying roughly $2,000 each for work in the Persian Gulf, a group of Sri Lankan migrant workers was taken to Iraq, where they survived a month of imprisonment until they managed to contact the U.N. The International Organization of Migration says worsening conditions in Iraq have encouraged such abuses by labor recruiters.
A court in Italy will decide whether to charge 25 alleged CIA agents for participating in an act of "extraordinary rendition." The trial, should it go ahead, will be the first to address the heinous tactic, by which the United States or its allies kidnap terror suspects in order to remove them to torture-friendly nations.