LONDON: A British journalist captured by Daesh, John Cantlie, used his final letter to beg Western governments to pay a $100 million ransom for his release from captivity in Syria.
Cantlie told his family that he feared execution if it was not paid, telling loved ones that Britian and the US were “the most hated” by the terror group.
The letter has been released by US prosecutors following the conviction on Thursday of El Shafee Elsheikh, the final member of the so-called “Beatles” group to face justice or be killed on the battlefield. Cantlie was a known held by the group, made up of British terrorists in Syria.
Cantlie wrote: “The amount is extremely high, but it is the only way the rest of us here will ever be released. If the money is not found we will remain prisoners here until we die, either by natural causes or executions.”
His note was smuggled to his London-based girlfriend by Federico Motka, an Italian aid worker who was released by the Beatles in May 2014 just weeks before they started beheading hostages on camera.
The letter is part of a trove of evidence exposing the evil of the group, with images of tiny cells, chains, shackles and weapons.
Cantlie was moved regularly, being held in at least eight different prisons held by Daesh terrorists. One was nicknamed “the box,” another “the dungeon.”
Unlike British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines, who were decapitated by Mohammed Emwazi, also known as Jihadi John, Cantlie was not executed on camera, and was last seen in December 2016 in Mosul, Iraq.
In April 2014, Didier François and three other French journalists under Daesh capture, were set to be released after the French governments appeared to pay a ransom.
Cantlie attempted to smuggle a letter to his girlfriend Charlie and family members in Britain.
“Dearest Charlie and family,” he wrote in capital letters. “The group holding us has just released four French journalists. And Didier François is carrying this letter.
“The group continues to release prisoners whose countries have paid their ransom demands.
“For the six British and American prisoners, the group are demanding a total of $100 million.”
He added that an American Daesh prisoner, Kayla Mueller, could be released if an infamous Pakistani terrorist known as “Lady Al-Qaeda,” Aafia Siddiqui, was free in a prisoner swap.
“The British and American governments are the most hated by this group and therefore they are demanding the most for us,” Cantlie continued.
“The amount is extremely high but it is the only way the rest of us here will ever be released.”
He added: “Didier François knows all about the situation here. Liaise with him on the matter.
“We are all so sorry to put you in this very difficult situation. We love all our families and pray you are all holding up in this situation.”
François did not manage to take the note from jail after the French paid for his freedom. Motka is thought to have smuggled the letter out of Syria one month later after the government in Rome paid what is believed to be a $6.5 million ransom for the journalist.