Ex-hostage: ISIS victim Foley gave up escape for friend

2015-03-17 05:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Madrid - The US journalist killed by the ISIS militant group, James Foley, might have escaped but gave up the attempt so as not to abandon his friend, a former fellow hostage said on Monday.

In a serialised account of his own captivity at the hands of the Islamist group in 2013-2014, Spanish reporter Javier Espinosa revealed that Foley made two escape attempts with another hostage, British photographer John Cantlie.

ISIS militants decapitated James Foley in August 2014, five months after Espinosa and another Spaniard, photographer Ricardo Garcia Vilanova, were freed.

The two Spaniards were held along with 21 others including Foley and Cantlie in an industrial complex north of Aleppo.

"Foley and Cantlie tried to escape twice. The first time was a resounding failure before it even started," Espinosa wrote in El Mundo newspaper.

"The second time, the US journalist demonstrated his enormous human depth," Espinosa wrote.

"After managing to escape from the room where we were held prisoner, clutching onto a blanket, he had to wait for Cantlie," who had been caught by a guard.

"Foley could have tried to flee on his own but he prepared to turn himself in. 'I could not leave John on his own,' he said."

In the first of his series of articles published on Sunday in El Mundo, Espinosa said ISIS extremists staged mock executions of Western captives.

They intended the jail to be the jihadist answer to the US prison camp in Guantanamo Bay.

'Hotel California'

Espinosa said other hostages were tortured and submitted to repeated mock executions by a trio of guards that prisoners nicknamed "The Beatles".

Cantlie and Foley were particularly brutally tortured for trying to escape, Espinosa said.

Espinosa and Garcia were captured in Syria in September 2013 and taken to join Foley and the others at the Aleppo complex later that year.

Among those held there was another US hostage, Peter Kassig. ISIS announced it had killed him in November 2014.

Espinosa says he waited nearly a year after being freed to reveal details of his detention because ISIS captors had warned they would execute remaining hostages if he spoke about his ordeal "before everything has been finished".

Espinosa wrote that time has now come, with 15 of his group of prisoners having been released, six executed, and American humanitarian worker Kayla Mueller killed in a bombing of ISIS positions last month.

Cantlie's fate is unknown after a recently released ISIS video showed him still alive.

The Spanish reporter described his captors as "psychopaths".

Another Spanish journalist held in the same place, Marc Marginedas, who was also released last year, wrote in El Periodico newspaper that prisoners were forced to sing a twisted version of The Eagles' famous song "Hotel California".

"You can never leave, and if you try, you'll die."

Read more on:    isis  |  james foley  |  syria  |  iraq

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.