A freed Islamic State hostage has given a chilling account of how cold-blooded IS executioner ‘Jihadi John’ ran a sword across his throat during a mock execution in Syria.
Spanish journalist Javier Espinosa, who spent more than six months in IS captivity before his release in March last year, has described how Jihadi John, a masked IS terrorist seen in gruesome videos of beheadings of Western hostages, took pleasure in the psychological torture.
Writing in ‘The Sunday Times’, he goes into details about his encounter with Jihadi John, unveiled as 26-year-old Londoner Mohammed Emwazi.
He writes: “The Beatles - that was our nickname for the three British militants guarding us - loved this sort of theatre. They had me sat on the floor, barefoot, with a shaven head, a thick beard and dressed in the ‘orange’ uniform’ that had made Guantanamo, the American prison, famous.
“Jihadi John wanted maximum drama. He had brought along an antique sword of the kind Muslim armies used in the Middle Ages. It was a blade of almost a metre in length with a silver handle.
“He caressed my neck with the blade but kept talking: ‘Feel it? Cold, isn’t it? Can you imagine the pain you’ll feel when it cuts? Unimaginable pain,” the journalist recalled.
“After finishing with the sword he holstered his pistol, a Glock. He placed it against my head and pulled the trigger three times. Click. Click. Click. It’s called a mock execution. But not even this terrifying intimidation seemed to satisfy them,” Espinosa said.
Espinosa and a photographer were kidnapped in Syria in December 2013 as they headed to the Turkish border.
They were taken to the IS extremists’ stronghold near Aleppo in northern Syria and held hostage in “elegant mansions” for more than six months before the Spanish government struck a deal for their release in March last year.
Jihadi John rose to notoriety after he first appeared in a video posted online last August, in which he appeared to kill American journalist James Foley.
Dressed in black with a balaclava covering all but his eyes and the ridge of his nose, and a holster under his left arm, he reappeared in videos of the beheadings of US journalist Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, and American aid worker Peter Kassig before featuring in a video with Japanese hostages Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto, shortly before they were killed.