Let us now split hairs

November 8, press conference to announce the release of Melissa Fung.

Reporter: “Ransom often is part of these cases and I wonder if any money was paid by anyone, the government or the CBC or even a third party to help secure her release”

Stephen Harper: “No ransom was paid. It’s the government of Canada’s policy not to pay ransom and no ransom was paid by anyone in this case and all laws of Canada and Afghanistan were fully respected.”

Reporter: “Just to clarify on the question you were asked about ransom. You said no ransom was paid, no money was paid. But was any other kind of goods or services passed on, either through a third party or insurers or otherwise? Can you just clarify on that?”

Stephen Harper: “I think the answer to that is no.”

November 10, press conference following First Ministers’ meeting.

Reporter: “There are reports there were two Taliban released in exchange for Miss Fung. Can you comment on this at all?” 

Stephen Harper: “Yes I can. That is not correct. I think I said already there have been continued reports about ransoms or money being paid. That was not done in this case. Likewise there has been no release or exchange of political prisoners. This matter is being handled according to the laws of the government of Canada and the government of Afghanistan and that’s all I’ll say in that regard.”

November 12, Melissa Fung’s interview with CBC.

Melissa Fung: “I now understand that Afghan intelligence had sort of fingered the family of the ringleader of this gang and had arrested a whole bunch of them. And it was a prisoner exchange. They agreed to release the family if the group would release me and that’s what ended up happening.”

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