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Thursday
Dec262013

American in Al Qaeda Custody Asks Obama to 'Work' for His Release

Андрей Бортников/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- An American contractor who was kidnapped from his home in Lahore, Pakistan, in August 2011 by al Qaeda militants is appealing to President Obama to work for his release.

Al Qaeda has released a 13-minute video of Warren Weinstein, showing him with a thick beard and wearing a grey jump suit and saying he feels “abandoned and forgotten.”

In the video, Weinstein, who was working as a consultant for USAID when he was kidnapped, appeals to Obama and says, “I hope and pray to God that you, as leader of the United States...will feel an adequate level of responsibility toward me to work for my release.”

The 72-year-old Weinstein says in the video that his captives will allow his family to visit him in captivity if the United States releases some al Qaeda members currently in custody.

It’s not clear when the video was recorded.

The terrorist group also released what it says is a handwritten letter from Weinstein in which he asks the media to help “make sure that I am not forgotten and just become another statistic.”  The letter is dated Oct. 3.

His wife, Elaine Weinstein, has stated that her husband was already in poor health at the time of his abduction and was suffering from a heart condition, high blood pressure and severe asthma.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told The Washington Post that U.S. officials were “working hard to authenticate” the message.

Harf said in a statement, “We reiterate our call that Warren Weinstein be released and returned to his family.  Particularly during this holiday season -- another one away from his family -- our hopes and prayers are with him and those who love and miss him.”

Al Qaeda previously released a video of Weinstein in captivity in September 2012.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio