A video of an American citizen kidnapped in Pakistan last year was released online late Sunday, showing the hostage making a desperate plea to President Barack Obama.
"My life is in your hands, Mr. President," Warren Weinstein, the 70-year-old hostage, said in the two-minute video, posted on several Islamist websites. "If you accept the demands, I live. If you don't accept the demands, then I die."
According to CNN, those demands listed by Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri include:
• The lifting of the blockade on the movement of people and trade between Egypt and Gaza
• An end to bombing by the United States and its allies in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Gaza
• The release of anyone arrested on charges of belonging to al-Qaida and the Taliban
• The release of all prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and American secret prisons and the closure of Guantanamo and the other prisons
• The release of terrorists convicted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center
• The release of relatives of Osama bin Laden
Weinstein, a development consultant living in Pakistan, was reportedly kidnapped from his home last August. Al-Qaida later claimed responsibility for the abduction.
"It is important that you accept these demands and act quickly and don't delay," Weinstein said in the video. "There'll be no benefit in delaying, it will just make things more difficult for me."
"I will live and hopefully rejoin my family and also enjoy my children, my two daughters, like you enjoy your two daughters," he said, asking viewers to relay a message his wife: "I'd like her to know I'm fine, I'm well, I'm getting all my medications, I'm being taken care of."
UPDATE: President Obama is aware of the video, the White House said late on Monday, but refuses to negotiate with the terror group.
"The president is aware of it," White House spokesman Jay Carney said the video plea. "I do not believe he's seen it, or I do not know that he's seen it. We remain greatly concerned for Mr. Weinstein's safety and his well-being. Our hearts go out to him and his family. We condemn his kidnapping in the strongest terms and call for his immediate release. The U.S. government will continue making every effort to see Mr. Weinstein released safely to his family, but we cannot and will not negotiate with al-Qaida."
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