Video: Al-Qaeda hostage Warren Weinstein pleads for his life
Al Qaeda has released a new video showing 70-year-old U.S. citizen Warren Weinstein, taken hostage, begging President Obama to yield to the demands of his captors to save his life.
According to the U.S. Intelligence group SITE, the 2 minute 40 second video was posted to jihadist forums by Al Sahab, al Qaeda's media arm, on Wednesday.
Weinstein began his statement by telling his wife Elaine, that he is in good health and "taken care of." He wanted his wife to know "I'm fine, I'm well, I'm getting all my medications, I'm being taken care of."
Then he went on to plead with Obama to "accept the demands quickly and don't delay." Weinstein pleads in the video: "My life is in your hands, Mr. President if you accept the demands, I live. If you don't accept the demands, then I die. It's important that you accept the demands and act quickly and don't delay."
He said: "I've done a lot of service for my country, and I would hope that my country will now look after me and take care of me and meet the demands of the mujahedeen."
He stressed: "It's important you accept the demands and act quickly and don't delay. There'll be no benefit in delaying, it will just make things more difficult for me." He concluded his plea, saying that if the president responds to the militants' demands "then I will live and hopefully rejoin my family and also enjoy my children, my two daughters, like you enjoy your two daughters."
Weinstein is a former Peace Corps and U.S. aid official. He is from Rockville, Md., and according to Time
, he is the director in Pakistan for J.E. Austin Associates, a Virginia-based firm that advises a range of Pakistani business and government sectors on matters related to aid.
reports he was kidnapped on August 13 last year in Lahore, Pakistan, after gunmen tricked his guards and broke into his home.
After he was kidnapped, his company said he is in poor health and provided a list of the medications he uses, many of them for heart problems, and implored his kidnappers to allow him access to his medication.
Weinstein did not specify the demands of the "mujahedeen" in his statement, but Ayman al-Zawahiri had released an audio message last December in which he demanded release of "captive soldiers of al Qaeda" in exchange for Weinstein. Time
reports that in the video message posted on jihadist websites, the al-Qaeda leader said Weinstein would be released if the United States stopped airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. He also demanded the release of all al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects around the world.
The video shows Weinstein with food before him. He is also heard reciting verses of the Koran
dealing with providing prisoners food.
The Daily Mail
reports it is not known where the video was filmed, but news reports in February said he was being held in Waziristan, north western Pakistan.
reports that the U.S. embassy and the Pakistani government have not commented on the video, and neither have his wife and two daughters, but ABC News
reports that a U.S. government official said the video is being analyzed.
The new hostage video comes at the time Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four others are being tried for their alleged roles in the 9/11 attacks at Guantanamo Bay
When the men appeared in court during the weekend, they refused to answer questions and interrupted proceedings with prayer and shouts that guards might kill them, ABC
reports. A defense attorney said the men were protesting the torture they had been subjected to. One of the attorneys James Connell, said: "This treatment has had serious and long-term effects and will ultimately infect every aspect of this military commission tribunal."
But the victim's relatives say they are angered and disgusted at the proceedings, ABC
reports. Eddie Bracken, one of the victims' relatives who watched on closed circuit, said: "You took her away from her sons and daughters, took her away from her mother. I will never forgive you for that and I am sure the other 2,972 families won't either."