AP NEWS
Related topics

Terry Anderson Marks 40th Birthday in Captivity

October 26, 1987

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ American journalist Terry A. Anderson, the foreign hostage held longest in Lebanon, marks his 40th birthday Tuesday with no sign of progress in efforts to get his kidnappers to release him after 2 1/2 years.

″Who knows if he’s aware that (Tuesday) is his birthday?″ Maggy Farah, director of Beirut’s Christian-controlled Voice of Lebanon radio station, said Monday.

On ″Between Us,″ her popular program, she said: ″He’s probably lost count of the days and probably will not be aware of his birthday unless his captors remind him of it.″

″Please at least arrange for a birthday cake for him,″ she said, addressing the captors. ″This might ease his plight for a while.″

No other mention was made by Lebanese media of the grim milestone in Anderson’s time as a hostage of the pro-Iranian Shiite Moslem extremist group called Islamic Jihad, or Islamic Holy war.

Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent of The Associated Press, was kidnapped March 16, 1985, in west Beirut while driving AP photographer Don Mell home from a Saturday morning tennis game.

Armed men forced the journalist out of his car, pushed him into their green Mercedes and sped away.

Islamic Jihad also holds another American - Thomas Sutherland, 55, who was acting dean of agriculture at the American University of Beirut when he was abducted June 9, 1985 - and at least three French hostages.

It has said it will free the Americans if Kuwait releases 17 of comrades convicted of bombing the U.S. and French embassies there on Dec. 3, 1983.

Kuwait refuses and the Reagan administration has repeatedly stated that it will not pressure the sheikdom to do so.

Anderson’s captors have provided nine photographs of him and three videotapes in which he pleaded to the U.S. government to help achieve freedom for the hostages.

The latest black-and-white photo was released Oct. 22. It showed Anderson with a bushy beard and mustache, looking straight at the camera with a confident expression.

″Among the hostages who have appeared on tape or in photographs released by the captors in the last two years, Terry Anderson stands out as the most composed and self-confident,″ a Lebanese police psychoanalyst after examining the latest photograph. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

Islamic Jihad had released three other American hostages in the past two years: the Rev. Benjamin Weir, a Presbyterian minister; the Rev. Laurence Martin Jenco, a Roman Catholic priest, and David Jacobsen, who was director of the American University Hospital in Beirut.

Terry Waite, a hostage negotiator representing the archbishop of Canterbury, made five mediation trips to Lebanon and dropping from sight Jan. 20 after leaving his west Beirut hotel to meet with Islamic Jihad.

No faction has claimed to hold the 48-year-old Briton. Twenty-four foreigners, including Waite, are missing in Lebanon and most are believed held by Shiite extremists.

Those missing are eight Americans, six Frenchmen, three Britons, a West German, an Irishman, an Italian, a South Korean, an Indian and two men whose identities and nationalities have not been determined.

AP RADIO
Update hourly