A video message from Warren Weinstein, an American hostage held by Al Qaeda, was sent anonymously to the Washington Post on Wednesday. In the video a bearded and dejected looking Weinstein appealed directly to US President Barack Obama to negotiate his release.
Weinstein, now 72 and in poor health with a heart condition and acute asthma, was captured over two years ago while working as a consultant on US government programs in Pakistan. Pakistan is now in peace talks with its local Taliban, and has criticized US for drone strikes for endangering talks.
"Nine years ago I came to Pakistan to help my government, and I did so at a time when most Americans would not come here," says Weinstein in the video. "Now when I need my government, it seems that I have been totally abandoned and forgotten."
Obama's administration has said it will not negotiate with Al Qaeda for Weinstein's release.
Weinstein then addressed US Secretary of State John Kerry, saying he had learned from his captors how Kerry has been busily seeking "peace and conflict resolution" in various parts of the globe. Weinstein asked Kerry to take action for Al Qaeda prisoners to maneuver his release.
In requesting help from his government, Weinstein noted "for over 30 years I have served my country as a college professor, as a civil servant. I have served as peace corps country director in West Africa, and in the United States Agency for International Development USAID, and lastly as a consultant."
Weinstein noted his particular suffering at being cut off from his family. Addressing his family, he said "I love them very much," urging them not to give up hope, and to raise a campaign to secure his release.
"I continue to pray to G-d that one day you will be successful, and that the leaders of our government will come to realize that they owe it to themselves, and they owe it to us, to work to gain my freedom and for us to be reunited," said Weinstein.
Previously Weinstein has appealed to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "as one Jew to another" to help work for his release.
Meanwhile it is noted that Jonathan Pollard is in his 29th year in a US cell. His ongoing imprisonment has been widely criticized given recent revelations of US spying on Israeli leaders. Obama has no plans to release Pollard, according to the White House.