'Log-book' of Iraq kidnap suggests France paid ransom for hostage

Rumours continue to circulate that the French government paid a de facto ransom for the release of the French journalist Florence Aubenas, held hostage for five months in Iraq.

Her newspaper, Libération, appeared to give credence to the rumours by publishing a "log-book" or diary of the complex and confusing negotiations to win her release. The log-book, written over the past five months by the newspaper's deputy editorial director, Patrick Sabatier, suggests the motives of her kidnappers were financial.

"Information received in Baghdad suggests that the kidnappers are ready to do a deal, having abandoned their maximalist demands," the diary records in April. "But the latest French offer does not yet satisfy them." However, M. Sabatier, in a separate article, said that Libération had not been told whether a ransom was paid. Mme Aubenas, 44, was released on Saturday.

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