06 Oct 2016

“You Could Be Dead Any Second”

A former hostage brings her captor to justice


(CBS: 60 Minutes)

For anyone else, it would be enough—to somehow survive being taken hostage in Yemen. In 1998, Mary Quin (MBA 1988), a senior executive at Xerox and inveterate traveler was touring the conservative Islamic country with a small group. Ambushed by terrorists hoping to exchange the Westerners for prisoners, Quin and the others were used as a human wall while their captors exchanged fire with the Yemeni army. “It seemed impossible that we could survive,” Quin told the Bulletin in 2002.

But the moment when she grabbed her captor’s AK-47 and ran to safety was not the end for Quin. Four of her fellow travelers were killed that day. She quit her job at Xerox, and returned to Yemen to interview the terrorists in prison and published a book about her experience. Then, in 2000, she flew to London and tracked down Abu Hamza, a radical Muslim cleric who had been linked to the kidnapping. After some resistance he agreed to talk, and did not decline when she asked to record their conversation. That evidence would later be used to extradite Hamza to the United States, where he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in January 2015.

Quin recently sat down with Bill Whitaker of 60 Minutes to tell her remarkable story. “I had this very strong feeling that I’d survive,” she said. “And I also had this feeling that I’d be really annoyed if I got killed and didn’t get to see how it ended.”

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Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 1988, Section G

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