Islamic State hostage John Cantlie criticized the US government, and revealed that other IS captives have been waterboarded, during an appearance in the latest propaganda video released by the jihadist group.
In Cantlie’s fifth appearance in an IS video, the captured journalist read what he claimed was correspondence between the Islamic State and the families of other captives, in which they criticized the US government, according to the Press Association news agency.
“We have begged them so many times already. Everyone has buried their heads in the sand,” he read from one email he said was from July 17 of this year. “We feel we are caught in the middle between you and the US government, and we are being punished.”
He also reassured viewers that hostages were being treated well by their IS captors, as long as they behaved.
“Now, unless we tried something stupid like escaping or doing something we shouldn’t, we were treated well by the Islamic State,” he said. “Some of us who tried to escape were waterboarded by our captors, as Muslim prisoners are waterboarded by their American captors.”
The video was released just days after Cantlie’s father died from complications of pneumonia. It was unclear when the video was actually made, however, as Cantlie made no mention of recent events. He said he would appear in further videos.
Cantlie’s family has made numerous pleas for his release, including two weeks ago when his father recorded a video from his hospital bed. His sister has also urged “direct contact” with the Islamic State.
In another Islamic State propaganda video released in September, “Lend me your ears,” he encourage Britons and Americans to oppose military action against IS and accused the media of distorting facts about IS to drum up support for war. YouTube removed the video shortly after it was uploaded, citing a violation of its violence policy.
Cantlie was captured by IS after coming to Syria in late 2012. He was also previously kidnapped and released by a group of Islamist extremists in Syria in July 2012. Cantlie returned to Syria after his release, reportedly with executed reporter James Foley, and has been held captive by IS since.
Besides the videos of Cantlie, IS has also released videos of its members beheading British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and American journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley.
Ilan Ben Zion contributed to this report.