Tape shows BBC journalist who was kidnapped in Gaza

The Baltimore Sun

JERUSALEM -- A videotape of journalist Alan Johnston surfaced yesterday, the first signs of the BBC reporter who was abducted in the Gaza Strip 2 1/2 months ago.

In the tape, posted on a militant Islamic Web site, Johnston says he is being treated well, laments the "huge" and "unacceptable" suffering of the Palestinian people and condemns the U.S. and British invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Although Johnston appears to be speaking extemporaneously, it was not possible to know under what conditions the videotape was made. At several points, he hesitates or corrects something he has just said, or the audio skips as if the tape has been edited. Similarly, there was no way to determine when the videotape was recorded.

His family issued a statement saying they were "very pleased to see Alan and to hear him say that he is not being ill-treated," but "it is clearly distressing for us to see him in these circumstances."

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