ibnlive » World

Jul 04, 2007 at 11:14am IST

Kidnapped BBC journo Johnston freed after 4 months

Gaza: Kidnapped BBC reporter Alan Johnston was released on Wednesday after nearly four months in captivity in the Gaza Strip

Johnston was freed under unclear terms, and was handed over to Hamas authorities in Gaza pressurised his captors, a group called the Army of Islam.

Ever since they seized full control of Gaza three weeks ago, the Hamas had started increasing pressure on the Dogmush clan to release the 45-year-old from their custody.

FINALLY FREE: Johnston waves to the media after he was released in Gaza on July 4.

Johnston later met with the deposed Palestinian Prime Minister in Gaza Ismael Haniya, after his release.

“They gave me 16 weeks of solitary confinement. They were often rude and unpleasant and as you can imagine they did threaten my life a number of times in various ways. There was a 24 hour period when they got very angry with the negotiations and chained me up,” says Johnston.

The Army of Islam had demanded that Britain free Muslim prisoners, particularly the Islamist cleric Abu Qatada.

The 45-year-old BBC reporter, the Western correspondent working full-time in the troubled coastal enclave, was kidnapped on his way home from work on March 12 and has been held longer than any other Western captive in Gaza.

Last week, after Hamas officials threatened to free him by force from the Dogmush clan's stronghold, Johnston was shown wearing an explosives belt that he said his captors would detonate if there were an attempt to free him.

(with inputs from Agencies)

Previous Comments