UK believes IS captive Cantlie is alive: Minister

Indo Asian News Service

London, Feb 5 (IANS) John Cantlie, British photo-journalist who was taken hostage in Syria in 2012 and featured in a number of Islamic State (IS) terror group's propaganda videos, is believed to be alive, UK Security Minister Ben Wallace said on Tuesday.

He was kidnapped along with American journalist James Foley while covering the Syrian conflict in November 2012.

Wallace told reporters in London the British government believed Cantlie was still being held by the IS, the Independent reported.

Foley was beheaded alongside other British and American hostages in 2014, while Cantlie was forced to appear in propaganda videos criticising Western foreign policy and military action.

Cantlie was later featured in a series of mock news reports from different IS strongholds and his byline appeared on articles in the group's English-language magazine.

Asked about British hostages around the world, Wallace said the UK does not pay ransom and discourages other countries from doing so.

Cantlie's relatives had made a series of emotional appeals for his release. His father Paul Cantlie released a video shortly before dying, two years after his capture.

Cantlie's sister Jessica appealed for "direct contact" with the IS in 2014 and said the family was open to dialogue with the jihadis.

Cantlie is one of the three foreign journalists unaccounted for in Syria, including American Austin Tice and South African Shiraz Mohamed.

--IANS

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