John Cantlie: Father of British Isis hostage appeals for his release

Paul Cantlie said he could think of nothing that would bring him 'greater joy' than his son's release

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The Independent Online

The father of John Cantlie, the British hostage being held by Islamic State militants, has appealed for his son to be released and returned "to those who love him."

In an emotional plea, Paul Cantlie spoke of the pride he had for his son and said he could think of nothing that would bring him "greater joy" than his release.

Speaking from his hospital bed with the help of a voice aid, Mr Cantlie said his family experienced "great relief" seeing John for the first time in two years after he appeared in a televised broadcast, but said this was followed by "despair and helplessness."

Mr Cantlie said he and his family were trying to communicate with the Islamic State (also known as Isis and Isil) to deliver an "important message" regarding his son.

John Cantlie was seized in northern Syria in 2012, where he had been working as an independent photo journalist.

Video: Paul Cantlie's emotional appeal

He has so far appeared in three propaganda videos, released by Isis, in which he is sat behind a desk in an orange jumpsuit.

Referring to the moment he saw John in the clip, Mr Cantlie said: "For the first time in almost two years, we saw John when he made a televised broadcast during which he told viewers that he was still a prisoner of the Islamic State and that maybe he will live and maybe he will die.

"As a family we experienced great relief seeing and hearing John and knowing that he is alive, but this was followed by the feeling of despair and helplessness."

Mr Cantlie said his son had been "seeking out the true story of the suffering of the Syrian people and ensuring the world was made aware of their plight".

He said: "John felt a strong need to help in the best way that he could: as an impartial and respected journalist he knew that he could make a difference by acting as a platform for the world to listen to and take notice, using his journalistic skills for the good of the people; as a friend and as a civilian.

"I have had many messages saying they cannot conceive what we, his family and all those who love him, must be feeling."

Mr Cantlie went on to speak of the pride he had for his son.

He said: "Speaking entirely for myself, this is not how I had imagined I would be passing my 81st year.

"I want John to know how very proud I am of him. I can think of no greater joy than seeing him again, released and allowed to return to those who love him."

Addressing his son's captors, he said: "To those holding John, please know that he is a good man, he sought to help the Syrian people and I ask you from all that is sacred, to help us and allow him to return home safely to those he loves and those who love him."