Thursday, December 20, 2012

Warren Weinstein

I covered the stories of three Americans imprisoned abroad in May. This is the story of another American imprisoned abroad.

Warren Weinstein was the director in Pakistan for J.E. Austin Associates, a development consulting company. In Pakistan J.E. Austin Associates works to expand Pakistani businesses, including the dairy and gem industries. The company receives funding from the US government through USAID. Weinstein holds a PhD in International Law and Economics and is the author of several books on international relations.

On August 13, 2011 Warren Weinstein was kidnapped from a house he was staying at in Lahore, Pakistan.

On December 1, 2011 Ayman al-Zawahiri, who took over the leadership of Al Qaeda after bin Laden’s death, claimed responsibility for Weinstein’s capture. Al-Zawahiri gave a list of demands that he said would be necessary in order for the US government to obtain Weinstein’s release. These demands included an end to US airstrikes in Pakistan, Afganistan, Yemen and Somalia and the release of various members of Al Qaeda held by the US government. These are demands that no US President would accept and demands that could never be met due to Congressional and public disapproval. So the odds don’t look good for Warren Weinstein.  

In May 2012 Al Qaeda released a video to show that Weinstein was still alive. Weinstein spoke in the video but everything said by hostages during hostage videos should be assumed to be forced under the threat of injury or death.

Warren Weinstein has been held captive for 16 months.

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