Saturday, January 23, 2010

Somali Pirates Threaten to Kill British Hostages in Days

Via CNN -

A British couple held hostage by pirates for more than three months have told of brutal treatment at the hand of their captors who they say are perilously close to killing them.

In separate telephone interviews with CNN affiliate ITN, Paul and Rachel Chandler pleaded for help and spoke of their fears that they were just days away from death.

An emotional Rachel Chandler also spoke of how she thought "dying would actually be an easy way out" and how she wanted to see her husband "at least once before we die."

The Chandlers were taken by pirates from their 38-foot yacht, the Lynn Rival, just days after setting sail from the Seychelles islands for Tanzania.

Their captors initially demanded a ransom of $7 million, but the British government -- in line with longstanding policy -- has refused to pay.

"Please, please find a way of helping us because it really is a very desperate situation here," Rachel Chandler said in the latest interview, in which she said she had not seen her husband for two weeks since they were violently separated.

"I've broken a tooth because I was hit on the head with something, probably the butt of a gun... I don't know... and yes, so we have been physically attacked."

Rachel Chandler, 55, who along with her husband has been held for nearly 100 days, said the pirates had issued a new deadline.

"They've just told me that if they don't get the money within four or five days they'll kill one of us."

Audibly close to tears, she also asked for a message to be passed on to her husband.

"The message to him is hang on for me because I hope -- my biggest hope -- is that I shall see him at least once before we die."

She added: "It's hard not to feel, well, dying would actually be an easy way out. It's hard to explain but it is when you're all on your own in this country and you've no idea where you are and no idea when something might happen and whether I'll see Paul again. It's just very, very despairing"

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