Threatened with beheading, starved and held hostage for 472 days, but government won’t compensate kidnapped Australian as incident wasn’t OFFICIALLY a ‘terror event’
- Australian Warren Rodwell was held hostage for 472 days and feared his Abu Sayyaf captors would behead him
- He was freed in March 2013 after his family successfully managed to raise a ransom
- Now he fears he will not receive Victims of Terrorism Overseas compensation
- Unless Prime Minister Tony Abbott decides otherwise, his kidnapping is not listed as a ‘declared terrorist event’
- ASIO has officially declared Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist organisation
By Daniel Piotrowski for Daily Mail Australia Published: 16:58 EST, 6 April 2015 | Updated: 21:15 EST, 6 April 2015
He was held against his will in a foreign jungle for 472 days and feared his al-Qaeda linked captors would behead him.
Now more than two years since Australian Warren Rodwell finally staggered to freedom from the clutches of the Filipino terror group Abu Sayyaf, he believes he may be in for another fight.
In an interview with Daily Mail Australia, Mr Rodwell said he fears the Federal government will not award him Victims of Terror Overseas compensation. Under Australian law, the survivors and families of victims of overseas attacks can claim up to $75,000 in compensation. But for that to happen, Prime Minister Tony Abbott would have to declare his kidnapping a terrorist event.
Despite an official from the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) lauding his courage and referring a petition from him to Mr Abbott’s office, the kidnapping victim is sceptical it will see action.
The AGD did not place any timeframe on when he should expect Mr Abbott to decide on his case
‘The prime minister has no time for doing things like this,’ Mr Rodwell told Daily Mail Australia – who attributed part of his situation to his low public profile.
Islamist militants posing as policemen abducted Mr Rodwell from his home in the Philippines by gunpoint on December 5, 2011. He was released in March 2013 after his family managed to raise a significant ransom and has spent time since recovering from his physical and psychological injuries.
A government media blackout was enforced during his captivity. The kidnapping victim said he was a ‘little bitter’ this year that other Australians trapped overseas have obtained considerable attention, including Kalynda Davis, the Bali Nine drug smugglers and journalist Peter Greste.
‘I got no attention because I wasn’t female and I wasn’t a convicted drug smuggler and I wasn’t a recognised person in society – just one of these ordinary people.’
Some of the ‘declared terror events’ where Australian victims or families are eligible for compensation include the September 11 attacks, Bali and London bombings and the siege at the Westgate Mall in Kenya.
ASIO has officially declared Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist organisation.
Mr Rodwell is hoping to use any compensation to pay back his brother and sister, who helped arrange the ransom payment that saved him. A spokeswoman for the Attorney-General’s Department said it does not comment on individual cases relating to the Australian Victims of Terrorism Overseas Payment (AVTOP).
Mr Abbott’s office was approached for comment.
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