Sep 6 2014
Nicolas Henin (photo right), a French journalist who was held hostage and released in April by Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists in Syria has identified Mehdi Nemmouche, the French Muslim suspected of killing four people at the Brussels Jewish Museum earlier this year, as one of his captors.
Times of Israel (h/t Susan K) French magazine Le Point on Saturday quoted its reporter Nicolas Henin as saying he was tortured by Mehdi Nemmouche, a Frenchman who had spent time with extremists in Syria. Henin was held for a time with American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, both beheaded by extremists from the Islamic State group in recent weeks. He was released in April with other French journalists who had been held since June 2013.
France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed that French intelligence services had “transferred elements to the judiciary that suggest [Nemmouche] may have been the jailer of our hostages.” Nemmouche is in custody since his arrest in France soon after the Brussels killing in May. The attack crystallized fears of European governments that Europeans who join radical fighters in Syria could return to stage attacks at home.
When Nemmouche was not singing, he was torturing,” wrote Henin. “He was part of a small group of Frenchmen whose visits would terrify the 50-odd Syrian prisoners held in the cells nearby.” “Every night the blows would start raining down in the room, where I was also interrogated. The torture lasted all night, until dawn prayers.”
French authorities say there are some 900 people from France who have been implicated in jihad in the Syria region. Several dozen have been killed.
Speaking to the Associated Press last month, Henin described how Foley had endured tougher treatment from captors because of his citizenship, but always behaved with courage and dignity. He and the other French journalists released in April described being held in about 10 underground places of captivity, mostly with other people. But they did not elaborate on some details of captivity because of potential consequences for hostages still being held.