January 27, 2015
The father of Jordanian pilot Moath al-Kasasbeh, who is held by ISIS, demanded that the Jordanian government releases Sajida al-Rishawai, a woman affiliated with al-Qaeda who tried to commit a suicide attack in 2005, in a bid to facilitate his son’s release.
The father, Safi al-Kasasbeh, spoke during a sit-in organised by the Kasasbeh, Bani Sakhr, Abbadi and Tarawneh clans.
ISIS threatened to execute Moath Kasasbeh and Japanese hostage Kenji Goto if the Jordanian government did not release Rishawi.
Social media accounts affiliated with ISIS members have mentioned that Sajida al-Rishawi, who was imprisoned after failing to commit a suicide attack against a hotel in Amman, was given to Iraqi mediators from the influential Dulaimai clan in preparation of releasing her.
The Jordanian society is tribal. Clan leaders can usually pressure the government into fulfilling their demands.
SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Safi al-Kasasbeh, Father of Jordanian pilot held by ISIS
We ask the government very strongly and loudly, God willing this have effect on the ground… if Moath comes under any threat, we will hold the government responsible, from the top of the ruling pyramid downward. We will hold them responsible of whatever happens to Moath. This is a very difficult phase. I ask His Majesty the King, the armed forces and every official to start working as fast as possible to liberate Moath by setting free all the political prisoners in Jordan. They are demanding that Sajida al-Rishawi be set free; Sajida al-Rishawi is not worth Moath’s shoe. Why are we keeping Sajida al-Rishawi? She is a criminal who blew up a hotel while we are keeping her and paying her living expenses. Why would she not be released? Why would she not be exchanged? I demand the government to release Sajida al-Rishawi immediately.
From the first day… Moath has been detained for 36 days, and the government hid from us the actions it said it was taking. We found out that there were no actions of negotiations. We do not accept this. These times are very difficult and the government must act accordingly.
Unseen man: This process takes time. It cannot be done in five minutes.
We now have time. The government must send someone to let us know what they have done in order for to know our son’s fate. He is a military who was sent to carry out a military mission. We will hold responsible the people who sent Moath on this mission. Moath’s blood is very, very dear.
Unseen man: Did they not tell you about what is going on?
No they did not.