SPAIN paid €12m to secure the release of three journalists held hostage in Syria by al-Qaeda linked terrorists, a Turkish newspaper has claimed.
Freelance journalists Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez and Angel Sastre were flown back to Spain May 8 after being held hostage by jihadist group al-Nusra Front for 10 months.
They were kidnapped last July while reporting from Aleppo in Syria.
Spain´s acting foreign minister Jose Margallo said he could neither confirm or deny the claims made by the paper Yeni Safak.
When asked for a comment he told reporters in Havana: “I am not aware that this is the case.”
The paper claims the Turkish government relayed with mediators in Syria to negotiate the payment after the kidnappers had initially asked for €25m.
Spain ended up handing over around €12m and a shipment of aid to refugee camps for the displaced in Syria.
Spain and many other European states have reportedly paid several ransoms to Islamist terrorist groups.
The US Treasury estimates the amount handed over since 2008 is as high as €147m.
The US and UK refuse to negotiate with terrorists.