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  1. ITV Report

Father of British Islamic State hostage John Cantlie issues message pleading for his release

Paul Cantlie gave the video message from a hospital bed.

The father of captured British journalist John Cantlie has urged Islamic State militants to return his son to safety.

"My family and I are trying to communicate with the Islamic State to deliver an important message regarding John, and can only hope that it has been received as we have had no response," Paul Cantlie said in a recorded statement.

"To those holding John, please know that he is a good man. He sought only to help the Syrian people and I ask you, from all that is sacred, to help us and allow him to return home safely to those he loves and those who love him," he added.

He said the family had experienced "great relief" from seeing videos of John that were released by the militant group - the first time the family had seen him since his capture in 2012.

However, he said that feeling was followed by "despair and helplessness".

Here is the transcript of his message in full:

My name is Paul Cantlie. My son John Henry Cantlie has been held as a prisoner by the Islamic State since 2012.

For the first time in almost two years, we saw John when he made a televised broadcast during which he told viewers that he was still a prisoner of the Islamic State and that maybe he will live and maybe he will die.

As a family we experienced great relief seeing and hearing John and knowing that he is alive. This was followed by the feeling of despair and helplessness.

He was seized in northern Syria, where he had been working as an independent photo journalist, seeking out the true story of the suffering of the Syrian people and ensuring the world was made aware of their plight.

John felt a strong need to help in the best way that he could: as an impartial and respected journalist he knew that he could make a difference by acting as a platform for the world to listen to and take notice, using his journalistic skills for the good of the people; as a friend and as a civilian. I have had many messages saying they cannot conceive what we, his family and all those who love him, must be feeling.

Speaking entirely for myself, this is not how I had imagined I would be passing my 81st year. I want John to know how very proud I am of him. I can think of no greater joy than seeing my dear son released and allowed to return home to us.

My family and I are trying to communicate with the Islamic state to deliver an important message regarding John and can only hope that it has been received as we have had no response.

To those holding John: please know that he is a good man, he sought only to help the Syrian people and I ask you from all that is sacred, to help us and allow him to return home safely to those he loves and who love him.

– Paul Cantlie

Full transcript of John Cantlie's first IS video