Fourteen members of a Muslim militant group in the Philippines have been given life sentences for the kidnapping of 20 people and beheading three of them. The hostages were abducted by Abu Sayyaf from an upmarket resort in 2001. They were taken by speed boat to the gang’s hideout in the jungles of the southern of the country.
Abu Sayyaf is one of several Muslim rebel groups in the south of the mainly Catholic Philippines. It has a reputation of extreme violence.
An American was among the three captives who were beheaded. US missionary Martin Burnham was killed during an army rescue operation a year after the kidnap ordeal began.
His wife Gracia was injured but survived. The Philippines has received substantial military aid from Washington to combat terrorism and US officials expressed their satisfaction with the verdict.