Hostage freed

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The Independent Online
THE release of a kidnapped businessman reignited debate over an Italian law blocking the payment of multi-million dollar ransoms. Sardinian kidnappers freed Giuseppe Soffiantini on Monday night after 237 days during which they cut off part of both his ears and demanded 10 billion lire (pounds 3.4m). Despite a law which discourages kidnappings by freezing the assets of a victim's family, Mr Soffiantini's captors pocketed five billion lire.

- Reuters, Rome

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