Jan 222010

Dying would actually be an easy way out
–Rachel Chandler

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.”
It’s hard not to feel, well, dying would actually be an easy way out
Says Rachel Chandler

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”

In a separate telephone interview 24 hours earlier, Paul Chandler, 59, described how they were separated and savagely beaten.

“We tried to stay together and they threw us to the ground and whipped us and beat Rachel with a rifle butt and I was dragged off, taken to a different location.

“I was allowed to telephone her about 12 days ago. Se said she was being tormented all the time and then she said she was giving up. They’ve lost patience. They set a deadline of three or four days, if they don’t hear, then they say they will let us die.

“We’re held in solitary confinement effectively. You know it’s just [like being] treated as a captive animal.”

It was not clear under what conditions the captives, who have been in sporadic telephone and video contact with journalists, had been allowed telephone access. ITN said both conversations had been shared with the British Home Office and his family.

Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s official line on hostages says “the government will not make substantive concession for hostage takers, including the payments of ransom.”

Pirates have been very active off the east coast of Africa in the past several years, operating out of lawless Somalia.

Last week, pirates attempted to hijack an Indian crude oil vessel 105 nautical miles from Somalia, the EU’s anti-piracy naval force said. The pirates opened fire on the ship and were later arrested.

Piracy on the high-seas reached a six-year high in 2009, according to the International Maritime Bureau, which monitors shipping crimes.

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