The fates of a Jordanian pilot and a Japanese journalist held hostage by ISIS have been in question since the terror group’s deadline to exchange a woman on death row in Jordan for the journalist has passed without any action.
Although the Jordanian government was prepared to exchange the woman who served al-Qaeda, Sajida al-Rishawi, as soon as they received proof that their pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, was still alive, ISIS seemingly had no response for the government and the exchange did not take place.
However, some relatives of the pilot claim he is still alive while being held captive and negotiations with ISIS to set him free or exchange him are still ongoing, according to a Sky News Arabia report on Twitter.
مراسلنا: عائلة الطيار #الأردني معاذ الكساسبة تؤكد أنه لايزال حيا وتؤكد أن هناك مفاوضات للإفراج عنه
— سكاي نيوز عربية-الآن (@SkyNewsArabia_B) January 30, 2015
In English, this roughly translates, “Our correspondent: the family of the pilot #Jordanian forbid Kasasbeh confirm he was still alive and confirms that there are negotiations for his release.”
According to USA Today, even though the relatives believe al-Kaseasbeh is still alive, there has been no confirmation of his status or Sky News Arabia’s report.
In direct contradiction to Sky News Arabia’s message, the pilot’s brother, Jawdat al-Kaseasbeh, stated his family had “no clue” about what was happening with the negotiations to free his brother.
“We received no assurances from anyone that he is alive,” he told the Associated Press. “We are waiting, just waiting.”
Jordanian military spokesman Mamdouh al-Ameri urged Jordanians not to listen to rumors and reassured the people that the government was “working around the clock” to find out whether al-Kaseasbeh is alive and how he can be returned to his country.
“We will inform you of any developments in due time.”
Japanese officials had nothing to say regarding Kenji Goto’s status, either. ISIS wanted to trade the woman for the Japanese journalist, but the Jordanian government placed emphasis on wanting their pilot first.
Japan’s government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, told the media, “There is nothing I can tell you,” but he insisted he had a “strong trust” in the Jordanian government to do their best to free Kenji Goto.
According to USA Today, Goto’s wife claimed she had been receiving emails from ISIS militants regarding her husband’s hostage situation, but she received a final message within the last day which she believed to be the militants’ final message.
[Image via AFP Photo/Ho]