Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Ransom for Johnston

Today Alan Johnston's kidnappers have demanded £5 million for Johnston's safe release. Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniya of Hamas claims that there is no evidence to suggest that Johnston has been killed.

'‘We don't have any information that can confirm that authenticity of the statement’', Haniya said, adding that the Palestinian authorities are still looking for proofs. '‘We are following this affair. We are examining all avenues to confirm the authenticity of this information but for the moment it is not confirmed.’'

Yesterday Johnston parents appealed publicly once more. Graham and Margaret Johnston issued the statement as a response to the unknown group’s claims. '‘We make a heartfelt appeal to anyone who may have knowledge of Alan's situation and well-being to contact the authorities in Gaza. Our son has lived and worked among the people of Gaza for the last three years to bring their story to the outside world and we ask every one of them to help end this ordeal.'’

The BBC issued the following statement to addressing the claim that Johnston had been killed: "The BBC has still had no independent verification of rumors concerning Alan Johnston. We continue to be highly concerned for his safety and are working closely with the Palestinian and British authorities to seek urgent clarification. Our thoughts are with Alan's family, and we appeal to those who have taken him to release him unharmed."

Standby for further developments, updated as the news comes in.