The militant group Islamic State has released a video which appears to show the second beheading of a U.S. journalist in as many weeks. Steven Sotloff is seen wearing an orange jumpsuit similar to those worn by foreign prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. He kneels in the same position as ISIS’s previous victim, James Foley.
As a masked person stands over him with a knife, Sotloff speaks directly to the camera and recites what appears to be a coerced statement about “paying the price” for U.S. airstrikes against the group. Sotloff was kidnapped about a year ago in Syria while working as a freelance journalist. To discuss the beheadings and the danger journalists face while reporting in Syria, we are joined by Robert Mahoney, deputy director of the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Reports of Steven Sotloff’s alleged beheading by the Islamic State on Tuesday triggered a worldwide response of shock, horror, deep sorrow, and perhaps most importantly, reminders of the brave and admirable life lived by the American journalist. A nearly 3 minute video released by ISIS claims to show Sotloff being beheaded.
President Barack Obama on Wednesday confirmed the authenticity of a video released by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant that showed the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff and vowed that the murder will only “stiffen” the U.S.’ determination to fight the group. “Overnight, our government determined that tragically Steven [Sotloff] was taken from us in a horrific act of violence,” Obama said Wednesday morning during a joint news conference with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in Estonia ahead of the NATO summit in Wales this week.
Before this video, 31-year-old Sotloff was known to his peers and friends as a courageous reporter who spent years working in conflict zones and reporting on Turkey, Syria, Bahrain, Egypt and Libya.
Colleagues, other journalists and supporters tweeted their respects and prayers for Sotloff Tuesday. Others gave reminders of how the journalist should be remembered, posting old pictures and articles that showed his tremendous talent and the pure passion he had for reporting the truth.