Bring Them Home: Prioritizing US Citizens Wrongfully Detained Abroad

WASHINGTON – The Atlantic Council will convene a panel of experts on Wednesday to discuss the fact that Americans are more likely to be wrongfully detained by foreign governments seeking political leverage than to be taken hostage by terrorist and other criminal organizations. 

The panelists are Diane Foley, president and founder of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation; Elizabeth Whelan, sister of Paul Whelan, who is currently detained in Russia; and Ryan Fayhee, who leads the Sanctions, Export Controls and Anti-Money Laundering group at the international law firm of Hughes Hubbard & Leeds.

This event will be held at 12:30 p.m. ET via Zoom and in person at the Atlantic Council offices, 1030 15th St., NW, 12th floor on Wednesday, Feb. 15. To attend via Zoom or in person in Washington D.C., register through the event webpage:

The panel is being hosted by The Atlantic Council’s Strategic Litigation Project to focus on the U.S. approach to prevention of and accountability for wrongful detentions, how strategies can be improved and ways to provide more support to the families of those detained. The panelists will argue that support for families must be enhanced, and wrongful or unlawful detentions must be a higher priority and be resolved more quickly. Prevention and accountability strategies must be prioritized.

The discussion will be moderated by Steven Clemons, founding editor at large of the news website Semafor. It will feature recorded messages from the co-chairs of the Congressional Task Force on American Hostages and Americans Wrongfully Detain Abroad, Rep. French Hill, R-AR, and Rep. Haley Stevens, D-MI.

The event is open to the press and on the record.  For more information, contact Emily Horne of the Foley Foundation at or Alana Mitias of the Atlantic Council at amitias@atlanticcouncil@org.