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Rubio, Coons Introduce Legislation to Establish National Hostage and Wrongful Detainee Day

Dec 13, 2022 | Comunicados de Prensa

According to the James W. Foley Legacy Center, there has been a 175 percent increase in incidents of U.S nationals who have been wrongfully detained or held hostage abroad in the past decade. As of 2022, Americans are wrongfully detained in at least 19 countries, including Iran, China, Venezuela, Syria, and Russia. 

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced bicameral legislation that would establish March 9 as the annual National Hostage and Wrongful Detainee Day. The commemoration of a national day will increase attention for those Americans that are unjustly held abroad and increase the urgency to bring home every wrongfully detained American. The legislation would also establish an official Hostage and Wrongful Detainee flag. U.S. Representatives French Hill (R-AR) and Haley Stevens (D-MI) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

  • “The death of Florida constituent Robert Levinson, who was the longest-held hostage in American history, was a devastating reminder of the tragic practice of hostage-taking. Unfortunately, far too many American families have lived through the nightmare of seeing their loved ones unjustly detained abroad. Establishing the National Hostage and Wrongful Detainee Day will provide another opportunity to honor individuals like Paul Whelan, Marc Fogel, Kai Li, Emad Shargi, Morad Tahbaz, Theary Seng, and the many American citizens who are suffering in foreign prisons without due cause. We must show our fellow Americans that they have not been forgotten, and at the same time must stop incentivizing our adversaries to take more Americans hostage.” — Senator Rubio


  • “The creation of a National Hostage and Wrongful Detainee Day and flag will help ensure Americans never forget the tragic stories of Robert Levinson, James Foley, and other U.S. citizens held hostage or detained illegally in foreign countries. Brittney Griner’s release and unjust imprisonment has only underscored the need for Congress to continue working to safeguard the lives of wrongfully detained Americans. I promise to keep unjustly held Americans at the forefront of our foreign policy and work until every last American is brought home safe and sound.” — Senator Coons