James Foley tribute
A man holds a sign in New York's Times Square in memory of U.S. journalist James Foley during a protest against Bashar Assad's regime in Syria Aug. 22. Foley, who was abducted in Syria in late 2012, was beheaded by a masked member of the Islamic State. Reuters

Shirley Sotloff, the mother of captured American journalist Steven Sotloff, pleaded Wednesday with Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to spare the freelancer’s life and return the U.S. citizen to his family. Steven Sotloff was threatened in a video released last week by the militant group formerly known as ISIS that showed the beheading of GlobalPost journalist James Foley. The unidentified militant in the video said Sotloff’s fate depended on U.S. President Barack Obama’s “next decision.”

“As a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over,” Shirley Sotloff said in a video released to the New York Times and addressed to al-Baghdadi, whom she refers to as “caliph,” the title al-Baghdadi gave himself after creating a caliphate using territory Islamic State acquired in Syria and Iraq. “I ask you to use your authority to spare his life and to follow the example set by the Prophet Muhammad, who protected people of the book. I want what every mother wants -- to see her children’s children. I plead with you to grant me this.”

The Islamic State said it beheaded Foley in response to U.S. airstrikes against the jihadists in Iraq. The ISIS member in the Foley beheading video suggested Steven Sotloff would be next unless Obama called off the airstrikes.

Watch Shirley Sotloff’s video below: