Al-Qaida releases new video of kidnapped U.S. worker Warren Weinstein


(JTA) — Al-Qaida in Pakistan distributed a video showing a captive U.S. government contractor asking the Obama administration to negotiate with his captors.

Al-Qaida released the video message featuring Warren Weinstein, a former Peace Corps and USAID official, late Wednesday night. In the video, which was sent to journalists and news services in Pakistan, Weinstein, 72,  sits alone against a white wall and asks President Obama to release al-Qaida terrorists in exchange for his release, according to the Washington Post.

“You are now in your second term as president of the United States and that means that you can take hard decisions without worrying about reelection,” he said, according to the Post.

A link to a photo of a handwritten note was also sent to journalists. The testimonial letter is dated Oct. 3, 2013; it is not known when the video was filmed.

Weinstein, of Rockville, Md., was kidnapped in August 2011 outside Pakistan while he was working for J.E. Austin Associates, a private company that advises Pakistani businesses.

The U.S. State Department did not receive a copy of the video but was provided with one by the Post. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said that U.S. officials are working hard to authenticate the message. She reiterated the government’s call for Weinstein’s release.

The United States has said it will not negotiate with al-Qaida, which the United States considers a terrorist organization

In a video released in May 2012, Weinstein also is seen appealing to Obama to save his life, asking to accede to his captor’s demands, including the freeing by the United States of all al-Qaida and Taliban suspects.

In September 2012, Weinstein is seen appealing to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a video released by al-Qaida, to help free him.

“As a Jew, I am appealing to you, Prime Minister Netanyahu, the head of the Jewish State of Israel, as one Jew to another, to please intervene on my behalf, to work with the mujahadeen and to accept their demands so that I can be released and returned to my family, see my wife, my children and my grandchildren again,” he said in the video.

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