A 72-year-old man who has been in captivity for more than two years, told the Obama administration that he feels “forgotten," in a new video pleading for the White House to negotiate for his release. The video, obtained by the The Washington Post, is the first proof in more than a year that American contractor Warren Weinstein is still alive. He was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan in 2011.
Two years ago, al-Qaeda laid out their terms for Weinstein's release: a total stop to airstrikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen; and the release of all Taliban and al-Qaeda prisoners currently under American imprisonment. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. has said it wouldn't negotiate those demands with al-Qeada, or any demands for that matter. But they would devote resources to finding Weinstein. Obviously, that has gotten any results yet.
Weinstein's plea had a message for Obama:
You are now in your second term as president of the United States and that means that you can take hard decisions without worrying about reelection.
And he had another one for Secretary of State John Kerry, whom Weinstein hoped would be able to take “action with respect to their people who are being held as prisoners:"
If anyone in the Obama government can understand my predicament it is yourself. I hope that one day soon I will be able to meet you as a free man and thank you for your efforts.
The video displays the logo of al-Qaeda's media wing, As-Sahab, and was sent to several journalists via email who have previously reported on the region.
In a note dated October 2013, Weinstein also had a message for the media, asking that they keep reporting on his story so "that I am not forgotten," presumably based on updates on coverage of his kidnapping from his captors.
Al Qaeda last released a pair of proof of life videos for the captive in September of 2012. The first of the two videos appealed directly to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to work with Al Qaeda to obtain his release. The second appealed to his family, who like Weinstein is Jewish. "Please also, I beg you, work with the American Jewish communities in order to work with the Israeli government," Weinstein said to his wife, "in order to have the Israelis work with the mujahideen, accept their demands, and obtain my freedom."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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