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HOSTAGE. A person delivered into the possession of a public enemy in the time of war, as a security for the performance of a contract entered into between the belligerents.
     2. Hostages are frequently given as a security for the payment of a ransom bill, and if they should die, their death would not discharge the contract. 3 Burr. 1734; 1 Kent, Com. 106; Dane's Ab. Index, h.t.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
The hostage exchange was organized by the Azerbaijan State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons and the State Border Service through the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
When I arrived there, the escaped prisoners and several hostages already occupied the mayor's office while the mayor was outside conferring with some officials.
Two people were injured by the captor before he took the girl hostage.
In earlier statements, police said the man had entered the post office wearing a mask and taken 11 people hostage with the intention of robbing the place.
The police swung into action and the neighbours nerves were tested after a mentally-challenged person, identified as Abdul Rahim, took 22 members of the family of his in-laws hostage.
The gunmen did not fire on them while the wounded hostage was being rescued.
General Ghafoor disclosed that Pakistan troops were dispatched to rescue the hostages shortly after the U.S.
When an officer entered the ACU branch, he encountered hostages and Collins standing on a stairwell with a male hostage in front of him.
According to one account, the police decided to charge the hostage-taker when he sought to flee the area with a couple of the hostages as cover.
"They came there to kill, no doubt about that, but the way they were taking people hostage showed that they knew they were going to blow themselves up.
government will not prosecute families looking to pay ransoms to terrorist groups holding their loved ones hostage -- a threat some families faced during their ordeals.
Summary: Doubts have been cast over claims that at least nine Lebanese servicemen being held hostage by ISIS militants were relocated to the group's stronghold in Syria, parties involved in the negotiations told The Daily Star.