Father of UK journalist John Cantlie asks militants to free him

WATCH ABOVE: In a heartbreaking video to his son’s ISIS captors, the father of John Cantlie spoke from a hospital bed—he recently had a tracheotomy—and pleaded for his son’s life.

LONDON – The father of John Cantlie, a British photojournalist held by the Islamic State militant group, appealed for his release in a video issued Friday, saying he was a friend of Syria.

Paul Cantlie read the statement from his hospital bed after undergoing throat surgery.

“To those holding John, please know that he is a good man,” he said.

READ MORE: Why captured British journalist delivers ISIS message in latest video

He said his son was an “impartial and respected journalist” who wanted to tell the world about Syria, “for the good of the people, as a friend and as a civilian.”

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“I want John to know how very proud I am of him,” the 80-year-old said. He urged his son’s captors “to help us and allow him to return safely to those he loves and those who love him.”

John Cantlie, who has worked for a variety of British publications, appeared in a video released last month by the militant group. He said he had come to Syria in November 2012, where he was subsequently captured.

Cantlie was previously held by militants for several days in July 2012 along with a Dutch journalist.

Cantlie’s captivity, and that of other Western hostages, was kept secret for months out of concerns publicity would endanger their security.

In recent weeks, the militants have released online videos showing the beheading of two American journalists and a British aid worker, and threatened to kill another Briton, Alan Henning.

Paul Cantlie said the video of his son had brought the family relief, “followed by a feeling of despair and helplessness.”

He said family had been trying to communicate with the militants to deliver “an important message regarding John” but had received no response.

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