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Sutherland, Thomas (1931–)

Dr. Thomas Sutherland, a Scots-born American professor, was held hostage for nearly six and a half years during the hostage crisis in Lebanon.

Sutherland and his wife, Jean, moved to Beirut in the summer of 1983 to work at the American University, then one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the Middle East. Sutherland, who had taught animal sciences at Colorado University for 26 years, signed a three-year contract as dean of faculty for agriculture and food science; his wife was to teach English at the school. When the Sutherlands arrived to take up their posts, Western staff and professors at American University were already becoming targets of radical Shiite Muslim fundamentalists.

The first of these targets was Malcolm Kerr, president of American University; Kerr was assassinated on January 18, 1984. Professor Frank Reiger was abducted the following month. Concerned for his own ...

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