Held Hostage in Syria

Held Hostage

Speaking together for the first time, four European hostages of so-called Islamic State talk to Lyse Doucet about their period of incarceration between March 2013 and June 2014. Aid worker Federico Motka, journalists Didier Francois and Daniel Rye, and blogger Pierre Torres were all held for between 10 and 14 months each.

They all found their own way of coping with the situation. Federico Motka lowered his gaze and raised his guard to avoid his captors’ efforts to demean him. Didier Francois pushed back and stared them straight in the eye. Daniel Rye, an elite gymnast, did the splits to convince them he was not a spy, and Pierre Torres took beatings, but satisfaction, from ignoring their orders.

This was their first reunion since they were freed, at different times, two years before, and is a celebration of friendship forged in the most threatening of circumstances. They talk about the months without sunlight, weeks chained together, days upon days of beatings. There was little food, and so much longing for clean clothes, a proper toilet, and most of all, freedom.

(Photo: Left to right: Pierre Torres, Federico Motka, Didier Francois, Daniel Rye Ottosen. Credit: Giles Duley)

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