UNITES STATES, Oct 26 –In the moments before his death, American James Foley stares into the camera, head held high, after being forced to read a script, in which he blames his death on the United States. A masked man wielding a knife then decapitates him. As horrifying as Foley’s last moments were, it was not the first time Foley looked death in the face at the hands of ISIS.
A new report from The New York Times states that Foley and other ISIS captives were threatened with execution, tortured and starved ahead of their beheadings. Foley had been singled out for particularly harsh treatment by the group that calls itself the Islamic State, according to the Times — he was subject to beatings, waterboarding and “mock executions.” The Times says it compiled the information by interviewing five former hostages, local witnesses, relatives and colleagues of the detainees, among others.
Foley, a 40-year-old freelance journalist, was reporting for GlobalPost and Agence France Presse when he was abducted in 2012. He was the first Western hostage to be beheaded by ISIS on camera. After Foley, the militant group beheaded three other Western hostages — Steven Sotloff, an American journalist who wrote for Time magazine; David Haines, a British aid worker; and Alan Henning, a British taxi driver whotraveled to Syria to deliver food and water to those affected by the country’s Civil War.
American aid worker in Syria, Abdul Rahman Kassig, who served in the U.S. Army and was deployed to Iraq, was identified by ISIS as their next captive in line to be killed. British photojournalist John Cantlie is also being held by ISIS. He has narrated a series of apparently scripted propaganda videos for the Sunni militant group. Cantlie is one of three remaining Western hostages according to the Times, along with Kassig and a woman who has not been named.
Most of the hostages who were released came from countries which the Times says has a history of paying ransoms. A report from the Times in July alleged that by paying ransoms, European countries have influenced terror groups, including ISIS, to target people for kidnapping.