In a chilling picture with audio, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto Jogo says he has less than 24 hours to live unless a convicted terrorist is freed from prison.
The new video, uploaded online early Tuesday, shows a still image of journalist Kenji Goto and plays audio, purportedly of Goto’s voice, as he says he has been told it is his “last message” and that “time is running very short.”
“It is me for her,” he says calmly, referring to Sajida al-Rishawi, a female would-be suicide bomber who confessed to her role in a string of deadly al Qaeda attacks in Jordan in 2005. She has been on death row in Jordan ever since her conviction. In a previous video, ISIS first made the demand for al-Rishawi’s release, which Jordan did not comply with.
In the voice that ISIS claims is that of Goto, he says another captive, a Jordanian pilot, will be killed along with him unless al-Rishawi is released immediately. He holds a photo of the Jordanian pilot, also being held captive by ISIS, in one hand.
Goto’s mother, Junko Ishido, told a Japanese news outlet the voice was her son’s. Understandably, she is not as stoic as her son appears to be, according to a translation by NHK.
“We don’t have much time left. It is extremely urgent. I want the government to do whatever it takes.”
As soon as the video first appeared, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he “talked by telephone with leaders of countries concerned and asked them for any possible support to collect intelligence and get the hostage freed as soon as possible.”
This is unlikely, as top military officials believe other ISIS hostage killings and beheadings have been authentic, even if the background in which they took place was not.
A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council told ABC News officials are aware of the video but declined to comment further at this time. The video has not been officially authenticated, but top U.S. and foreign officials treated the previous video, which also appeared to show the body of a murdered Japanese hostage, as authentic. It is still the official policy of the U.S. government to “not negotiate with terrorists,” although many argue that has been repeatedly done in the past several years.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe understands the urgency of the situation.
“The situation is extremely difficult, but we will work with other nations extremely closely and do whatever we can to secure an early release.”
Our thoughts are certainly with the hostages and families and we are hopeful for a peaceful outcome.
[photo courtesy Ahmed Muhammed Ali/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]