John Cantlie, ISIS Hostage, Describes Being Treated Well By Islamists In Latest Video


Islamic State (IS) hostage John Cantlie has described how the Islamist fundamentalists - which beheaded four hostages in recent weeks - treats its captives "well" provided they do not try to escape.

He tells how prisoners have been waterboarded for trying to escape in the latest video released by the terror group.

The 43-year-old British photojournalist, who has been held captive for over two years, appeared in the fifth episode of propaganda films entitled Lend Me Your Ears.

John Cantlie, pictured before his capture

Cantlie, as he appears in the latest video

Its release comes just days after his father Paul Cantlie, 80, died from complications following pneumonia, after he made his own video appealling for IS to release his son.

In the latest video, John Cantlie describes "the execution of my former cellmates" - implying he shared a cell with US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, whose beheadings have been filmed and uploaded to the internet.

As in previous instalments, he can be seen delivering his message under duress from behind a desk, wearing an orange jumpsuits and criticising the British and American governments for not negotiating for the release of their citizens.

He claims 16 fellow prisoners from six European nations have been released, adding IS, sometimes known as ISIS or ISIL, executed a Russian with "no clear origin or story" to show they were serious.

In the apparently scripted footage, which lasts six and a half minutes, he says: "Now, unless we tried something stupid like escaping or doing something we shouldn't, we were treated well by the Islamic State.

"Some of us who tried to escape were waterboarded by our captors, as Muslim prisoners are waterboarded by their American captors."

"Our strange little community of prisoners had its share of problems. But apart from the odd fight, we lived together in relative harmony through uncertain times.

"We read books, we played recreational games and gave lectures in our specialist subjects.

"It wasn't a bad life."

He also reads from emails allegedly exchanged between IS and the families of American captives who complained about the US government's refusal to negotiate their loved ones' release.

One message, which Mr Cantlie dates to July 17 this year, reads: "We have begged them so many times already. Everyone has buried their heads in the sand.

"We feel we are caught in the middle between you and the US government, and we are being punished."

Mr Cantlie's sister, Jessica Cantlie, has previously appealed for there to be "direct contact" with the militants holding him.

In his latest statement, Mr Cantlie makes no reference to recent events and it is not clear when the footage was filmed.

He is reported to have written on the group's English-language online propaganda site that he had recorded eight episodes which would be released one by one.

Mr Cantlie, who has worked for newspapers including The Sunday Telegraph and The Sunday Times, signs off by saying that in the next instalment he will talk about a failed rescue mission.

And he says he will explain how "one soldier was worth five prisoners and we were worth none", in apparent reference to the deal the US government made with Taliban fighters to free Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Earlier it emerged a fourth jihadist fighter from the same city had been killed in Syria, according to reports.

He was said to be Mehdi Hassan, 19, from Portsmouth, Hampshire, who travelled to the country with a group of four other men in October last year.

Chairman of the Portsmouth Jami Mosque, Abdul Jalil, told the BBC: "It has been confirmed with the family that he has died. Right now they are very upset.

"I am saddened and again shocked for the community about this news."

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