Thomas Sutherland, Scottish-born American academic and Islamic jihad hostage, Died at 85

  Educator, Writer

Thomas Sutherland was born on May 3, 1931, in Falkirk, Scotland and died on July 23, 2016.

He served as the Dean of Agriculture at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.

Thomas was kidnapped by Islamic Jihad members near his Beirut home on June 9, 1985, then he was released on November 18, 1991 at the same time as Terry Waite, having been held hostage for 2353 days.

He obtained a BSc in Agriculture from Glasgow University, and relocated to the United States in the 1950s.

He was awarded a master’s degree and PhD in animal breeding from Iowa State University, then taught animal science at Colorado State University for 26 years.

He moved to Beirut in 1983 for a three-year term as dean of the faculty of agriculture and food science in the American University in Beirut.

Looking past the assassination of University President Malcolm H. Kerr and the kidnapping of Professor Frank Reiger in 1984, and reportedly, despite being warned repeatedly by the State Department to leave, Sutherland remained at the University.

But after two weeks David P. Jacobsen was abducted, Sutherland was also kidnapped while using the limousine of University President Calvin Plimpton.

When he was release, Sutherland claimed that the kidnappers mistook him for Plimpton.

Thomas was the second-longest held captive after Terry Anderson.

Thomas Sutherland memories of the experience were published in a book co-authored by his wife Jean, At Your Own Risk (ISBN 1555912559).

Thomas Sutherland family reportedly won a $323 million verdict in a lawsuit in June 2001 against the frozen assets of the government of Iran, because of evidence that Iran had directed terrorists to kidnap Americans in Lebanon.

Compiling with Section 2002 of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, Pub.L. 106–386, Sutherland and his family received $35,041,877.36 (including interest) and the lien for the rest of the original settlement is now held by the US Government.

Thomas Sutherland passed away at 85 years old.