Journalist James Foley was violently beaten, waterboarded and starved while imprisoned by terrorist group ISIS in the days leading up to his August execution, according to new details revealed in an article from the New York Times on Saturday.
The disturbing events prior to Foley’s beheading, which was filmed and released on the Internet, were “pieced together through interviews with five former hostages, locals who witnessed their treatment, relatives and colleagues of the captives, and a tight circle of advisers who made trips to the region to try to win their release,” per the article.
“The person who suffered the cruelest treatment, the former hostages said, was Mr. Foley,” noted the Times. “In addition to receiving prolonged beatings, he underwent mock executions and was repeatedly waterboarded.”
Foley was captured in Nov. 2012 by armed men near the town of Taftanaz in northern Syria. The 40-year-old freelance photojournalist had been working on a story for the GlobalPost, a Boston-based online news service.
“The 23 prisoners were divided into two groups,” said the Times. “The three American men and the three British hostages were singled out for the worst abuse, both because of the militants’ grievances against their countries and because their governments would not negotiate.”
Foley’s family had been in contact with ISIS for months, but were told expressly to keep any negotiations for his life quiet and not name ISIS as the kidnappers.
“Inside their concrete box, the hostages did not know what their families or governments were doing on their behalf,” according to the Times. “They slowly pieced it together using the only information they had: their interactions with their guards and with one another. Mostly they suffered, waiting for any sign that they might escape with their lives.”
The full New York Times article can be found here.