Hampshire photojournalist captured by Islamic State is 'believed to be still alive'

A HAMPSHIRE man who was captured by so-called Islamic State group more than six years ago is thought to still be alive, the UK's security minister has said.

Tuesday, 5th February 2019, 6:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 10:11 pm
John Cantlie and (inset) father Paul

John Cantlie was kidnapped in Syria in November 2012  but managed to escape. He was caught again several months later.

Previously it was hinted by UK officials that Mr Cantlie, originally from Winchester, was most likely dead but the BBC reports Security Minister Ben Wallace has not explained why he believes Mr Cantlie is alive.

In a statement, a Home Office spokesperson said: ‘We do not discuss individual kidnap cases and speculation is unhelpful.’

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The Free John Cantlie twitter account said they prayed the latest reports were true.

John’s father Paul, who was from Droxford near Fareham died in 2014 after complications following pneumonia and just days after making an emotional plea for his son to be released.

In a statement at the time Mr Cantlie’s family said: ‘Paul died not knowing whether John’s captors had received any of the messages he had sent to them.’

Mr Cantlie has appeared in several IS propaganda videos across Syria and Iraq, in each, he is depicted as a journalist critical of Western foreign policy rather than a prisoner.