A “proof of life video” showing ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller, which was recorded in 2013, has been released.
NOTE* This article was updated to correct the information saying Mueller worked with Doctors Without Borders. She did not work with the said NGO. Additionally, an excerpt of the statement from Doctors Without Borders could be found at the end of this article.
The 25-year-old hostage was abducted by a group led by a Brit named Mohammed Emwazi also known as “Jihadi John.” Under his command were three more Britons. The prisoners dubbed their four abductors as “The Beatles.”
According to ABC News, in 2014, Mueller was taken by Emwazi to a room full of male hostages. According to these prisoners, Emwazi forced Mueller to remove her head scarf and introduce herself.
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“My name is Kayla Mueller. I need your help. I have been here too long and I’ve been very sick and it’s very terrifying here,” she said in the video.
The video was sent by email to one of her friends nearly a month after she was abducted. The FBI received the clip from the friend, and it was shown to Carl and Marsha Mueller, the hostage’s parents. Her parents said they could not even stand up after they watched the video.
“I saw how thin she looked, but I saw that her eyes were very clear and steady. It broke my heart, but I also saw her strength,” Marsha Mueller said.
Her parents said they went to Doctors Without Borders. They asked the NGO to negotiate with ISIS for the release of their daughter. However, the NGO refused, saying it was in the hands of the government to get her out of the situation.
According to People, the Muellers said that Doctors Without Borders refused to provide an ISIS email address to them, two months after receiving such from the workers freed from captivity.
Although the international medical aid organization refused to involve itself with their daughter’s release, the Muellers observed that the NGO was involved with the release of other prisoners.
On May 2014, the Muellers came across more proof of life in the form of an audio clip after they started negotiations with ISIS over email.
Kayla, from Prescott, Arizona, was abducted by ISIS in Aleppo, Syria. She worked as a medical aide for Doctors Without Borders. She was held captive for one and half years. According to reports, she died on February 2015 after undergoing torture, rape, and abuse.
From Doctors Without Borders:
Why MSF Did Not Negotiate for Kayla Mueller’s Release
“In this instance, the Muellers asked MSF to actively intervene to help achieve Kayla’s release and we did not do so. There are several reasons for this:
The risks go beyond any one location. If MSF were generally considered by would-be abductors to be a negotiator of release for non-MSF staff, there is no doubt that this would increase the risk levels in many locations, put our field staff, medical projects, and patients in danger, and possibly force us to close projects where needs are often acute. It would limit MSF’s ability to provide life-saving care to people caught in dangerous conflicts.
Furthermore, MSF is an emergency medical organization. We are not hostage negotiators. If staff members get abducted, we deputize senior MSF staff members to concentrate fully on working towards their release. This comes with significant concerns for the people involved; some of the people who worked to secure the release of the MSF staff members in Syria put themselves at great risk in so doing.
There is risk inherent in humanitarian work in conflict, but we rely on people who are willing to take those risks to help us reach people in need around the world. It’s awful to know that people like Kayla Mueller, who carried a very similar spirit into the world, died during efforts to reach some of those same people.”