Shaheen, Menendez, Risch, Hagerty Introduce Supporting Americans Wrongfully or Unlawfully Detained Abroad Act of 2023
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Jim Risch (R-ID), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) in introducing bipartisan legislation to bolster support for families advocating for the release of their loved ones wrongfully or unlawfully detained abroad.
The Supporting Americans Wrongfully or Unlawfully Detained Abroad Act of 2023 authorizes the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the State Department to cover the costs of travel to Washington, D.C. for family members of Americans who are wrongfully or unlawfully detained abroad. The legislation also provides that the Department make available mental health support for detainees and their families.
“Anytime an American is wrongfully detained abroad, every effort must be made to bring them home and reunite them with their families. From Amer Fakhoury to Andrew Brunson, I’ve worked on numerous cases and witnessed the anguish families experience around unjust detainment. This legislation addresses a key gap in current U.S. policy by helping families access travel assistance to advocate for the release of their loved ones,” said Senator Shaheen. “I will continue to stand by families of Americans held hostage or detained abroad and push every lever of the U.S. government to bring them home.”
Shaheen has worked on numerous cases of Americans held against their will. She worked to secure the freedom of Granite Stater Amer Fakhoury, who was detained in Lebanon, as well as Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was wrongfully imprisoned in Turkey. Shaheen is also a leading advocate for families of hostages, and has worked to see the ISIS terrorists culpable in the murders of New Hampshire native and journalist, James Foley, as well as Americans Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller, stand trial in the United States for their crimes.