HONG KONG: US hostage Warren Weinstein has appeared in an al Qaeda video for the first time since he was kidnapped in Pakistan in August last year.
According to the US monitoring service SITE, the two minute, 40 second video was posted on jihadist forums by al Qaeda’s media arm as-Sahab on Sunday. There is no indication of when the video was made.
The elderly Weinstein, dressed in a traditional Pakistani tunic and speaking impassively to camera in English, tells his wife Elaine that “I’m fine, I’m well, I’m getting all my medications, I’m being taken care of”.
He also urges US President Barack Obama to respond to the demands of his kidnappers.
Weinstein was snatched after gunmen tricked their way into his Lahore home on August 13, days before he was due to return to the United States.
He was country director for US-based consultancy JE Austin Associates, which does contracting work with the US Agency for International Development. He suffers from asthma, heart problems and high blood pressure.
Among its demands in exchange for Weinstein, al Qaeda has called for the release from US custody of “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdul Rahman, Ramzi Yousef and Sayyid Nosair, who are tied to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Al Qaeda had also demanded the release of the family of Osama bin Laden. The wives and children of the terror group’s late founder were deported from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia last month.
“If you accept the demands, I live; if you don’t accept the demands, then I die,” Weinstein told Obama in the video, which showed the hostage sitting in a room in front of a white sheet, behind a table with books and food on it.