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ISIL threatens to execute Japanese hostages
January 21, 2015, 6:09 am

A screen capture of the ISIL video which was released on social media on Tuesday. It has since been shown in parts on major news networks. The masked ISIL militant warned Japan that it had 72 hours to pay a $200-million ransom

A screen capture of the ISIL video which was released on social media on Tuesday. It has since been shown in parts on major news networks. The masked ISIL militant warned Japan that it had 72 hours to pay a $200-million ransom

A few hours before US President Barack Obama said he would ask Congress to authorize force against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the group aired video of two Japanese hostages it threatened to execute if Tokyo does not pay a hefty ransom.

In the video, a masked man says Japan bears the responsibility for deciding to contribute $200 million to the US-led coalition carrying out air raids against ISIL positions in Iraq and Syria.

The masked man demanded $200 million in ransom within 72 hours.

The Japanese government said it was studying the video to determine its authenticity but added it would work with other countries to secure the men’s release.

The extremist Islamist group, which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria, has beheaded dozens of foreigners and hundreds of Iraqi and Syrian soldiers. It has also been executing by various means hundreds of Iraqi and Syrian civilians.

On Tuesday, the UN strongly condemned what it said were unlawful Sharia courts which have been known to hand out severe punishment for “crimes” such as watching television.

Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), highlighted a number of recent executions which have made the rounds on social media.

“The ruthless murder of two men, who were thrown off the top of a building after having been accused of homosexual acts by a so-called court in Mosul, is another terrible example of the kind of monstrous disregard for human life that characterised ISIL’s reign of terror over areas of Iraq that were under the group’s control,” she told a UN briefing in Geneva.

In one video, a middle-aged woman is surrounded by ISIL fighters and accused of adultery. A man reads out what appears to be an Islamic edict before she is executed.

In another video, two men are accused of embezzling money from local citizens. They are crucified and later beheaded.

One video shows a 10-year-old child using a pistol to kill two captured men at point blank range. They were accused of spying for Russia.

The UN says that ISIL has executed “scores” of people in Iraq and Syria in the past few weeks.

ISIL has been particularly adept at using social media to spread its propaganda, including punishment it metes out against people within its own ranks.

In November 2014, the Associated Press (AP) reported that ISIL was “hunting” down former Sunni police officers, military personnel and anyone deemed a threat or a possible lynch-pin for a revolt against the extremist group.

It quoted sources in the northern province of Nineveh and Anbar, western Iraq, who said that senior security officials who had laid down their arms when ISIL swept through the region in June were now being killed and displayed in public squares.

AP quoted security officials in Anbar who said they found 48 bodies of executed Sunni policemen and civilians.

In June 2014, it posted several videos and pictures on Twitter and other social media of a mass execution of hundreds of Iraqi soldiers captured after the fall of the northern city of Mosul.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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