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A person who is held as a security. Under the Taking of Hostages Act 1982, it is an offence, punishable in the English courts by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, to take anyone as a hostage against his will anywhere in the world and to threaten to kill, injure, or continue to hold him hostage in order to force a state, international governmental organization, or person to do or not to do something. This is an extraditable offence, but prosecutions may only be brought with the consent of the Attorney‐General. See also hijacking; kidnapping; terrorism.

Subjects: International Law.

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