A former companion of Prince William and Prince Harry was revealed yesterday as a British hostage being held in Syria by jihadi fanatics.
Photojournalist John Cantlie is shown on the latest Islamic State propaganda video claiming he has been ‘abandoned’ by the Government and pleading with them to ‘negotiate’ with his captors.
The slickly-made video, which has Arabic subtitles, marks a significant change of tactics by IS, who have previously released barbaric footage of hostages, including Mr Haines, being executed in a desert.
Mr Cantlie – who had previously been kidnapped by another group in Syria and rescued only to return to the frontline, be captured by militants and sold to IS – appears dressed in an orange top and sitting at a wooden table against a black screen.
Calm but clearly speaking under orders on the 3min 21sec clip posted on YouTube, he admits he does not know his fate.
His message is addressed to the ‘Western public’ and he calls on them to act to ‘change this seemingly inevitable sequence of events’, by forcing the US and British governments to change their policies on dealing with hostage-takers.
He says: ‘I’ve been abandoned by my government and my fate now lies in the hands of Islamic State…Maybe I will live and maybe I will die, but I want to take this opportunity to convey some facts.’
The 43-year-old, who has been held since November 2012, was part of a small group of motorbike enthusiasts that joined Prince Harry and Prince William on the Enduro Africa charity bike ride in 2008.
He was the event’s official photographer on the gruelling eight-day 1,000-mile ride across South Africa that saw the small team live, eat, sleep and ride together.
Mr Cantlie is said to have got to know the princes extremely well during the trip – with Harry in particular reportedly sharing his passion for motorbikes.
He is not thought to have had any contact with them since. A news blackout has been in place since Mr Cantlie’s latest abduction but he becomes the third Briton known to have been kidnapped by IS following aid worker David Haines, 44, who was murdered on video, and Alan Henning, 47, the taxi driver the British fanatic known as ‘Jihadi John’ has warned will be his next victim.
More than 80 journalists have been kidnapped in Syria over the last three years – and more than 20 are still missing, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Other figures estimate that more than 20 foreign aid workers and journalists are currently being held by the Islamic State. Courtesy: Daily Mail.