Washington, DC, United States (4E) – An American contractor for USAID kidnapped in Pakistan two years ago appealed for help from President Barack Obama in a video released on Thursday.
“Mr. President, for the majority of my adult life, for over 30 years, I have served my country as a college professor, as a civil servant,” The Hill quoted Warren Weinstein as saying in the video sent to journalists. “I hope and I pray to God that you, as leader of the United States, along with your administration, will feel an adequate level of responsibility toward me, to work for my release.”
Weinstein, 72, of Rockville, Maryland, urged Obama to negotiate with his captors for his release. He said he was not in good health and his captors will allow his family to visit him in exchange for the U.S. releasing “their people who are being held as prisoners.”
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri issued a statement in December 2011 demanding that Washington release all imprisoned al-Qaeda and the Taliban members and stop drone strikes against them in exchange for Weinstein’s freedom.
The Washington Post said Thursday it provided the State Department a copy of the video and the latter is verifying its authenticity. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf on Thursday issued a statement calling for Weinstein’s release.
Weinstein’s 13-minute video, in which he was shown wearing a black knit hat and a gray track jacket, is the third released to the media since unidentified men seized him from his house in Lahore in August 2011. At the time, he was working as the director for the U.S. firm J.E. Austin Associates, a USAID contractor in Pakistan.
The video was produced by As-Sahab, al-Qaeda’s media production arm, and sent to journalists via an anonymous e-mail.
The first video of Weinstein pleading for help was released in May 2012. His plea was addressed to Obama telling the president his life was in his hands.
In the second video released in September 2012, he asked Israel to intervene for his release.