Father of hostage John Cantlie pleads from hospital bed for IS militants to release his son

The father of captive British journalist John Cantlie issued a statement on Friday pleading for his son's release and said his family had tried to communicate with the Islamic State (IS) insurgent group holding him. -- PHOTO: AFP
The father of captive British journalist John Cantlie issued a statement on Friday pleading for his son's release and said his family had tried to communicate with the Islamic State (IS) insurgent group holding him. -- PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - The father of captive British journalist John Cantlie issued a statement on Friday pleading for his son's release and said his family had tried to communicate with the Islamic State (IS) insurgent group holding him.

Speaking from a hospital bed through a voice box, 81-year-old Paul Cantlie called on IS, which has already beheaded two American journalists and a British aid worker, to allow his son to return home safely.

"This not how I had imagined I would be passing my 81st year," he said in a televised statement. "I want John to know how very proud I am of him. I can think of no greater joy than seeing my dear son released and allowed to return home to us."

Cantlie was captured in northern Syria in November 2012.

His father said the family had tried to contact his abductors but had received no response and that his son was an independent photo journalist who had only gone to Syria to document the suffering of its people.

John Cantlie appeared in a video released by Islamic State in September saying he would soon reveal "facts" about the group to counter its portrayal in Western media.

His father 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."

Last month, IS released a video showing the beheading of British aid worker David Haines. A black-clad man in the video said another British hostage, identified as Alan Henning, would be killed if Prime Minister David Cameron continued to support the fight against the group.

British planes have since started launching attacks against IS targets in Iraq.