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Muezzin
06-01-2007, 05:35 PM
A video has appeared on the internet showing the first pictures of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston since his abduction in Gaza on 12 March.

It is said to have been posted by the Army of Islam, the group that says it is holding the reporter.

In the video, Mr Johnston says he is in good health and that his captors have treated him well.

The BBC said it was studying the video carefully and repeated its call for the immediate release of Mr Johnston.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, on his visit to South Africa, said Mr Johnston was a journalist of "independence and integrity".

"I feel deeply for Alan Johnston and his family. We are doing everything we possibly can do to secure his release," he said.

Chancellor Gordon Brown called on those holding the reporter to free him "as a matter of urgency" as they were "not serving their cause by detaining him in this unfair and unjust way".

In a statement, the Foreign Office said: "We condemn the release of videos like this, which can only add to the distress of Alan Johnston's family and friends."

A statement released by Mr Johnston's family in Scotland said relatives were "very pleased to see Alan and to hear him say that he is not being ill-treated - although it is clearly distressing for us to see him in these circumstances".

Mr Johnston, 45, was seized nearly 12 weeks ago in Gaza City on his way home.

It is unclear when the video, which has appeared on the al-Ekhlaas website, was recorded.

Nor was it clear under what conditions the Scottish reporter was speaking.

Abu Qatada

On the video Mr Johnston says: "First of all, my captors have treated me very well... They have fed me well, there has been no violence towards me at all and I'm in good health."

Mr Johnston, seated and wearing a red sweatshirt, calls for an end to Western sanctions that have been imposed on the Palestinian government.

Mr Johnston talks of the "huge suffering" of the Palestinian people, saying: "Everyday there are Palestinians arrested, imprisoned for no reason. People are killed on a daily basis. The economic suffering is terrible, especially here in Gaza."

He also says the British government is working to occupy Muslim lands against the will of the people there.

Mr Johnston refers to the "failed invasion of Iraq by America and Britain" and the "terrible" situation in Afghanistan.

Towards the end of his portion of the video, Mr Johnston begins a message to his family, saying, "to my family, to my family..." but the audio is then cut off.

A message then appears on screen in English saying: "BBC refused to take this message to his family". The BBC's Bridget Kendall says it appears that the kidnappers added this to the video.

In response the BBC said it had kept the family informed throughout and the Johnston family statement said relatives had been "fully informed and involved by the BBC since the day Alan was abducted".

The BBC statement read: "This is a highly distressing time for them and for his friends and his colleagues. We repeat our call for his immediate release."

On the tape, the Army of Islam demand the release of Abu Qatada, a Palestinian-born Islamic cleric who is suspected of close links to al-Qaeda and is currently held by the UK government as a threat to national security.

Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat again called for the unconditional and immediate release of Mr Johnston and said that all Palestinians stood behind him.

Mr Johnston was the only Western reporter permanently based in Gaza and his abduction has triggered appeals for his release from lawmakers and rights groups around the world.

More than 130,000 people have now signed an online petition calling for his release.

Source, with video

(this was posted about ten minutes ago by another member, but was unapproved because I felt the comments attached to the story would be too inflammatory and make the topic devolve into mindless arguments. Thus, I've simply posted the story itself here)
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Chechnya
06-01-2007, 05:39 PM
i think they'll release him in the end
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Muezzin
06-01-2007, 05:54 PM
Originally Posted by Chechnya
i think they'll release him in the end
I certainly hope so. It was grossly immoral and tactically stupid to kidnap him in the first place.
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barney
06-01-2007, 06:08 PM
Alan, every night he was in Gaza, made anti Israeli, pro-palastinian reports.
Every night.

So the Numpties at Army of Allah, capture him and he gets to say the same stuff he's been saying for years just once in 67 days.
In a more exasperated tone.

Lol...they show the typical terrorist mindset. Hey! He's infidel! CAPTURE! KILL!
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Encolpius
06-02-2007, 11:18 AM
Originally Posted by barney
Alan, every night he was in Gaza, made anti Israeli, pro-palastinian reports.
Every night.

So the Numpties at Army of Allah, capture him and he gets to say the same stuff he's been saying for years just once in 67 days.
In a more exasperated tone.

Lol...they show the typical terrorist mindset. Hey! He's infidel! CAPTURE! KILL!
Not just terrorists, but religious fundamentalists of all stripes.
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InToTheRain
06-02-2007, 02:11 PM
Originally Posted by barney
Alan, every night he was in Gaza, made anti Israeli, pro-palastinian reports.
Every night.

So the Numpties at Army of Allah, capture him and he gets to say the same stuff he's been saying for years just once in 67 days.
In a more exasperated tone.

Lol...they show the typical terrorist mindset. Hey! He's infidel! CAPTURE! KILL!
Sad but true. When heard Alan was in palestin I was delighted in thinking "At last the atrocities commited by Israel will be unvieled", and man I was so distressed when I heard he was captured...how could this benefit the Palestinians?

And 67 days later he comes on condeming UK and USA for their part in the war around the world. The wierd thing is there was no mention of Israel and its occupation of Palestinina Lands... WTF MAN and I mean WTF!?!
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Chechnya
06-02-2007, 02:39 PM
I certainly hope so. It was grossly immoral and tactically stupid to kidnap him in the first place.
yep, it was pretty brainless

but im hoping common sense will prevail - i think even the kidnappers will realise that the absolutely worst thing they could do for the palestinians right now is to kill him
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