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American journalist James Foley's execution became public this week when ISIL began circulating a video of his beheading. On Wednesday morning, the White House confirmed the video's authenticity and the British government began hunting for the executioner, who likely hails from South East London

We also learned late on Wednesday that the U.S. attempted a rescue from the location in Syria where they believed he was being held, but by the time Special Forces commandos arrived, the hostages were not there.

Nicolas Henin, a freelance journalist, spoke to ABC News about his experience with Foley. Henin was held captive for ten months, spending seven months with Foley. The two shared a cell at one point. 

Out of respect for the Foley family, Henin did not offer details about the punishments. Speaking in generalities, he told CNN, "[Foley] already suffered a lot during his first months [of captivity] and thankfully we shared a phase that was less difficult." At one point, their captors believed Foley was planning an escape from the facility in which they were held. "James was a bit punished for a presumed attempt to escape, but it had no real chance," Henin said. Because of this supposed escape plot, Foley faced "brutal punishment, " but Henin says he was also mistreated because of the American "war on terror." 

Henin remembered his fellow journalist fondly. "That is someone, I mean, a real man. Many people would've freaked out and [been] terrified because he knew very well what was going to happen to him. But [he] was still standing up, looking forward and speaking with a clear voice."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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