Taliban threaten to kill Beverly Geisbrecht

March 19, 2009

According to reports coming out of Pakistan the Taliban have threatened to kill Beverly Geisbrecht, the Canadian freelance journalist kidnapped in November 2008, if ransom demands are not met by March 30. Earlier this month a ransom demand of $375,000 was reportedly made. In a video taped message sent to the Miranshah Press Club earlier this week she says she is seriously ill and worried for her safety,

“I am Khadija Abdul Qahaar. I am a convert to Islam. I am Canadian national and am currently being held by the Taliban in some place near the Afghan border, either in Pakistan or Afghanistan, I am not quite sure. I was captured by the Taliban four months. The previous video was made and distributed to my embassy and Pakistan government, NGOs and other organisations to try and meet the demands of the Taliban for my release.

“Unfortunately, nothing has happened. Now I have been advised to make this new video. We have very short time now. I am going to be killed at any time as you can see the dagger. I am going to be beheaded like the Polish engineer probably by the end of month as their deadline is by the end of March that is I am not sure 18 days or 16 days, I am not sure.

“The time is now very short and my life is going to end, so I need someone to help me, either the Pakistan government or my own country. Somebody will have to move now because my life is going to be over. I want to go home.” link

UPDATE: The ransom is now a reported US$2 million.

UPDATE: From the Globe & Mail

Elders in Pakistan’s lawless tribal region are negotiating with Taliban militants for the release of a Canadian woman threatened with beheading, according to a tribesman in the region.

“Two tribal elders are in talks between the local government and the Taliban,” local tribesman Amer Jan said by telephone from the rugged area.

The news comes a day after The Globe and Mail received a video of Beverly Giesbrecht, 52, pleading with authorities in Canada and Pakistan to do something to save her life, saying her captors have told her they will cut off her head if their demands aren’t met by March 31. They have asked for $375,000 (U.S.) for her release. link

 

UPDATE: A section of the videotaped message was included in a news segment on Times Now,

 

UPDATE: The Globe & Mail has a little more from a source on the ground,

A source in the Taliban-controlled area in which she was kidnapped said in an interview that Ms. Giesbrecht had fallen ill from unfiltered drinking water, but that she had received medical treatment.

He said that because of her poor health her captors are urgently trying to secure a ransom payment and release her.

“Because of her rapidly deteriorating condition, she fell unconscious for several hours some weeks back, and then she was provided with medical treatment,” he said by phone. “There is no special food or filtered water for her here but medical facilities can be provided when need be.” link



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