Al Qaeda tells family to press U.S. to negotiate hostage release

DUBAI Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:19am EDT

An unidentified prisoner reads a newspaper in a communal cellblock at Camp VI, a prison used to house detainees at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, March 5, 2013. REUTERS/Bob Strong

An unidentified prisoner reads a newspaper in a communal cellblock at Camp VI, a prison used to house detainees at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, March 5, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Bob Strong

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda told the family of a U.S. hostage kidnapped three years ago in Pakistan to press their government to exchange him for prisoners held by the United States, in a message posted on the Internet on Friday.

Warren Weinstein, who was kidnapped in 2011 in Lahore where he worked for a U.S. consulting company, was last seen in a video recording released in December.

In the latest message, al Qaeda said it had been demanding to exchange Weinstein for members of the group held by the United States for "no guilt except that they acted in defense of the Muslim ummah (nation)" - an apparent reference to inmates held at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

"Your government wants Warren Weinstein to die in prison so that it may absolve itself of responsibility regarding his case," the message said. "Your government has not made any serious effort for the release of the prisoner."

Addressing the Weinstein family, it said the U.S. government's failure to negotiate "will only lead to your prisoner dying a lonely death in prison".

"Therefore, if you want Warren Weinstein to be released, do whatever you can to pressurize your government."

It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the message which was posted on a website that has been used by radical Islamists for similar announcements in the past.

In a 13-minute video clip posted on the Internet in December 2013, Weinstein looked gaunt and tired as he appealed to President Barack Obama to intervene to negotiate his freedom.

Pakistan's tribal areas on its border with Afghanistan serve as safe havens for al Qaeda, the Taliban and other militant groups.

(Reporting by Mostafa Hashem in Cairo; Writing Sami Aboudi; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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Comments (10)
Doc62 wrote:
Obama, I voted for you twice. No more prisoner exchanges. Bergdahl was not worth 5 terrorists. This will come back to haunt us, as I’m sure they’ll plan revenge on the USA.

Aug 15, 2014 9:10am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Troot wrote:
Make no mistake, this is an Arab/Jewish problem that both sides are trying to use America, like the Jews did in 1948 to carve “Israel” out of Palestine. Only a very few Americans back then had any idea what the repercussions of the “UN”‘s actions would be- the birth of terrorism.

I support Obama more and more the less he does, the less he gets America involved in their murderous war of religious hatred. Best thing he could do is say “work it out yourselves”.

Aug 15, 2014 9:17am EDT  --  Report as abuse
gcf1965 wrote:
Gee, now that obama the terrible has set a precedent for giving terrorists what they want, they are already coming back for more. obama is a criminal traitor!

Aug 15, 2014 9:51am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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