Mom of captive U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff sends Islamic State video message

The mother of Islamic State captive Steven Sotloff has issued a public plea to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to release her son, who was taken captive last year while working as a freelance journalist in Syria.

By JC Finley
Shirley Sotloff filmed a video appeal addressing son Steven Sotloff's Islamic State captors. (Screen shot/Al Arabiya)
Shirley Sotloff filmed a video appeal addressing son Steven Sotloff's Islamic State captors. (Screen shot/Al Arabiya)

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Shirley Sotloff, mother of U.S. journalist and Islamic State captive Steven Sotloff, has sent a recorded video message addressed to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi seeking her son's release.

In the video, she directly appeals to Bagdhadi, addressing him as "caliph."


"You, the caliph, can grant amnesty. I ask you please to release my child."

"My son Steven is in your hands," Shirley Sotloff tells Baghdadi in the newly-released video message that was aired on Al Arabiya news station. "As a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over," she pleads.

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Invoking Islam's founder, Sotloff's mother asks Baghdadi "to use your authority to spare his life and to follow the example set by the Prophet Muhammad who protected People of the Book," a reference to Christians and Jews.

She apparently tries to humanize her son in the eyes of his captors, repeatedly using his first name and describing him as "a journalist who traveled to the Middle East to cover the suffering of Muslims at the hand of tyrants."


"Steven is a loyal and generous son, brother and grandson. He is an honorable man and has always tried to help the weak.

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"We have not seen Steven for over a year, and we miss him very much. We want to see him home safe and sound, and to hug him.

"I want what every mother wants: to live to see her children's children. I plead with you to grant me this."

Sotloff was working as a freelance journalist in Syria when he was abducted last year.

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He appeared briefly in an IS-released video that was uploaded to YouTube showing the execution of American photojournalist James "Jim" Foley. A disguised IS militant, holding Sotloff by the collar, threatens to execute Sotloff if U.S. President Barack Obama continues military airstrikes against IS targets in Iraq. "The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision," the terrorist warns as the video concludes.

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