Kidnapped aid worker pleads for life in undated video footage

A busy street in Lahore, Pakistan. Warren Weinstein was abducted from his Lahore home in August 2011. Photo by: psit / CC BY-NC

An American aid worker that has been held in captivity in Pakistan for the past nine months has appealed to U.S. President Barack Obama to save his life, but Washington stands firm it will not negotiate with terrorists.

In an undated video footage released supposedly by al-Qaida Sunday (May 6), Warren Weinstein pleaded to Obama to meet the demands of his captors.

“My life is in your hands, Mr. President. If you accept the demands, I live; if you don’t accept the demands, then I die,” Weinstein said, as quoted in The Washington Post.

The 70-year-old aid worker expressed hopes to “rejoin” his wife and two daughters in Rockville, Maryland. He said he has done “a lot of service” for the United States and hopes his country will “now look after me and take care of me.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday (May 7) the United States is concerned for Weinstein’s well-being and called for his immediate release. But Carney reiterated that Washington “cannot” and “will not” negotiate with al-Qaida, whose demands include the release of al-Qaida prisoners around the world. Carney said Obama is aware of the video but may have not seen it yet, Miami Herald reports.

Weinstein, country director of U.S.-based consulting firm J.E. Austin Associates, was taken by armed men in August last year, days before he was scheduled to return to the United States. The undated video footage is his first proof of life since the abduction.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.