A video allegedly showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff was made public Tuesday days after his mother begged for his freedom in an emotional video that addressed her desire for grandchildren. Sotloff is allegedly the second American journalist to be beheaded by Islamic State militants in recent weeks after freelancer James Foley's death was captured in a similar video last month.
Shirley Sotloff pleaded with Islamic State leaders in her own video released last Wednesday in what appeared to be a last-ditch attempt at being reunited with her son. “I want what every mother wants: to live to see her children’s children. I plead with you to grant me this,” she said in the video.
Shirley Sotloff made her plea directly to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the alleged leader of the Islamic State, the militant group formerly known as ISIS. "Steven has no control over the actions of the U.S. government. He’s an innocent journalist," she said. "I’ve always learned that you, the caliph, can grant amnesty. I ask you to please release my child. As a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over."
Sotloff, 31, was a freelance journalist captured in northern Syria a year ago. ISIS vowed to kill him next in the video of Foley's beheading if the U.S. continued its airstrikes against the militant group in Iraq.
In the latest video, a masked militant stands next to Sotloff and says, "I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State."
Before traveling to the Middle East, Sotloff told friends he was aware of the potential risks, according to the New York Times. Sotloff wrote for publications including Time magazine, the Christian Science Monitor and World Affairs Journal.