Hostages’ relatives will be absolved from threat of prosecution over ransoms

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Relatives who try to pay ransom to free a family member being held hostage by terrorists will no longer face the threat of prosecution under a new policy from the Obama administration that seeks to streamline U.S. rescue efforts after several high-profile deaths. President Barack Obama plans to announce the new policy Wednesday as part of a broader set of guidelines on hostage crises, the result of a lengthy policy review. The review is also an effort to deal more humanely with the panic-stricken families of abducted Americans, whose complaints about U.S. government handling of their cases has plagued the Obama administration during a painful year that has seen notorious cases of abduction, threats and videotaped killings.

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