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Former ISIS Hostage Says He Was Psychologically Tortured By "Jihadi John"

In an essay for the Sunday Times, Spanish journalist Javier Espinosa says he was constantly threatened with beheading while in the custody of the militant group.

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A former ISIS hostage says he was psychologically tortured for months by the militant known as "Jihadi John," saying he was constantly threatened with beheading.

Spanish journalist Javier Espinosa detailed the hardships that he and the other hostages went through in an essay for Britain's Sunday Times newspaper.

Espinosa was captured by the group in Syria while working for Spanish publication El Mundo in September 2013. He was released in March 2014, the Associated Press reported.

Espinosa wrote that the infamous militant, who has been identified as Mohammed Emwazi, seemed to get pleasure out of constantly threatening his hostages with beheading.


The militant wanted "maximum drama," Espinosa said, and would threaten the hostages by holding an antique sword to their throats.

"Feel it? Cold, isn't it? Can you imagine the pain you'll feel when it cuts? Unimaginable pain," Espinosa wrote Emwazi told him.

Espinosa said that Emwazi would also threaten him with a pistol.

Another former hostage, Spanish journalist Marc Marginedas, also told his story in the Periodico de Catalunya newspaper on Sunday.

Marginedas, who was freed at the same time as Espinosa, said he tried to convince his captors that he wasn't trying to spy in Syria, according to the AP.

He said the militant warned, "you entered Syria twice and it worked out well for you, but now we'll kill you."

Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Stephanie McNeal at

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