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American Dying in Lebanon, Fellow Hostage Says on Tape

March 26, 1987|Associated Press

BEIRUT — Muslim kidnapers today released a videotape of American hostage Jesse Turner saying that fellow American captive Alann Steen is dying.

"You all know that our fellow Alann Steen is dying," Turner said in the videotape delivered to the daily newspaper As Safir.

"The doctor says in his report that 'After checking the patient Alann Steen I found out that he had a crisis in his blood pressure. . . . The symptoms he had were headache, hemiparicia, anxiety and difficulty in breathing,' " Turner said.

It was not clear what he meant by "hemiparicia." A similar-sounding condition, hemiparesis, is defined in Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary as "muscular weakness affecting one side of the body." But there was no indication that this was the condition in question.

The videotape was accompanied by a typewritten English text of Turner's statement.

Turner, Steen, Robert Polhill and Mithileshwar Singh were kidnaped at Beirut University College on Jan. 24, and the Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility.

On Monday, the kidnapers issued a statement saying that Steen was ill and might die within 10 days. The captors demanded the release of 100 Arabs held by Israel in exchange for Steen's freedom.

Turner, Steen and Polhill are Americans. Singh is a native of India who is a legal resident alien from the United States.

Twenty-four foreigners, including eight Americans, are missing and presumed kidnaped in Lebanon. Also missing is Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite, who disappeared Jan. 20 in West Beirut on a mission to free foreign hostages.

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