Army of Islam releases video of Alan Johnston, calls for prisoner exchange

first_imgNews May 16, 2021 Find out more Israel now holding 13 Palestinian journalists June 1, 2007 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Army of Islam releases video of Alan Johnston, calls for prisoner exchange PalestineMiddle East – North Africa Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information to go further Reporters Without Borders condemns the use of British journalist Alan Johnston for an unacceptable act of blackmail. In an undated video distributed today, the Army of Islam demands that the British government free Muslim detainees in return for Johnston’s release. “Because of their lax attitude, the Palestinian authorities are largely responsible for this situation,” the press freedom organisation says. Follow the news on Palestine For the first time since kidnapping British journalist Alan Johnston 81 days ago, the Army of Islam today distributed a video of its captive in which it demanded the release of Muslim activists held by “infidel countries,” including Abu Qatada, a radical Palestinian who has been held by the British authorities since 2005 for alleged links to Al-Qaeda.“This undated video, which puts Johnston at the centre of an unacceptable act of blackmail, does not reassure us,” the press freedom organisation said. “Repeated statements by the Palestinian authorities that he is about to be released have turned out to be hollow. Their lax attitude and the failure to prosecute those responsible for previous abductions of journalists in the Gaza Strip are largely responsible for the current situation.”The video, emailed today to several news media, shows a haggard-looking Johnston wearing a red sweat-shirt against a black background. “My captors have treated me very well, they have fed me well, there has been no violence towards me at all and I am in good health,” he says.Clearly at the insistence of his captors, he goes on to blame Britain and the United States for “the suffering in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories, and for occupying Muslim lands against the will of the people in those places.” His voice was cut off as he was about to send a message to his family. One of his captors then demanded that the British government release Sheikh Abu Qatada in exchange for Johnston.The BBC’s main correspondent in the Gaza Strip, Johnston was kidnapped shortly after leaving his office to go home on 12 March. Gunmen intercepted his car and drove off with him. The Army of Islam released an earlier message on 9 May in which it claimed responsibility for his abduction. RSF_en Organisation RSF asks ICC prosecutor to say whether Israeli airstrikes on media in Gaza constitute war crimes June 3, 2021 Find out more News May 28, 2021 Find out more News PalestineMiddle East – North Africa WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists Newslast_img