Italian hostage appears in Syrian jihadist video
Rome, Nov 29 (IANS/AKI) An Italian allegedly being held captive by jihadists in Syria has appeared in a video and appealed to his government to save him from possible execution.
“My name is Sergio Zanotti, I’ve been a prisoner here in Syria for 7 months,” says the man in the video allegedly sent to Russian website News Front.
“I call on the Italian government to intervene in my case as I risk execution, ” the man says, speaking with a the accent of the northern Italian city of Brescia.
The man has unkempt grey hair, a long grey beard, is barefoot and kneels in an olive grove wearing a long white tunic.
He appears grim-faced as he speaks and holds up a placard with the date 15 November 2016 on it, the same date the video was shot, according to News Front.
A man dressed in black with his face covered and toting a machine gun stands behind him.
News Front also published a photo of a passport bearing the name Sergio Zanotti, stating his date of birth as February 23, 1960 and his birthplace as the town of Marone in the province of Brescia.
News Front said the head of its English service had received the video via Facebook from someone describing themselves as a jihadist from Syria.
Italian Foreign Ministry’s crisis unit is aware of the video and is following the case, Adnkronos has learned.
An Italian Jesuit priest, Paolo Dall’Oglio, was abducted in the Islamic State jihadist group’s stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria in 2013. No group claimed his abduction and reports on social media in early 2015 claimed he had been executed in prison.
Pope Francis in 2013 issued an appeal for Dall’Oglio’s release.