The mother of American journalist Steven Sotloff, 31, who is being held hostage by ISIS has made an impassioned plea for her son’s release in a video released Wednesday.
Steven Sotloff was captured by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, in August 2013. In the video, which features Arabic subtitles, his mother Shirley Sotloff pleads directly to the caliph, or ruling leader, of ISIS to free her son.
Here is the full transcript:
‘I’m sending this message to you, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Al-Husseini, the caliph of the Islamic State. I am Shirley Sotloff. My son Steven is in your hands.
Steven is a journalist who traveled to the Middle East to cover the suffering of Muslims at the hands of tyrants. Steven is a loyal and generous son, brother and grandson. He’s an honorable man and has always tried to help the weak. We have not seen Steven for over a year, and we miss him very much. We want to see him home safe and sound, and to hug him.
Since Steven’s capture, I have learned a lot about Islam. I have learned that Islam teaches that no individual should be held responsible for the sins of others. Steven has no control over the actions of the U.S. government. He’s an innocent journalist.
I’ve always learned that you, the caliph, can grant amnesty. I ask you to please release my child. As a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful, and not punish my son for matters he has no control over.
I ask you to use your authority to spare his life, and to follow the example set by the prophet Muhammad, who protected people of the book. I want what every mother wants: to live to see her children’s children. I plead with you to grant me this.’
Last week, American journalist James Foley was brutally executed by an ISIS militant. Foley had been held hostage in Syria since 2012. On Sunday, the U.S. negotiated the release of another American journalist, Peter Theo Curtis, who had also been held captive in Syria for almost two years. Curtis returned to the U.S. on Tuesday, to the delight of his mother, Nancy Curtis.
“I am overwhelmed with relief that this day has come and my son is standing beside me,” she said in a statement on Tuesday. “But this is a sober occasion because of the events of the past week. My heart goes out to the other families who are suffering.”