“(From their perspective) there was a reason to kill (British hostage Ken) Bigley, there was a reason to kill the Americans; there was not a reason to kill me (and) luckily I managed to convince them of that.” At least Downer and Pratt are appalled. From AAP, with thanks to Kevin:
KIDNAPPED Australian journalist John Martinkus was attacked today by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and former hostage Steve Pratt for appearing to say that Iraqi terrorists had a reason to kill some hostages.
Mr Martinkus, who was kidnapped and interrogated for more than 20 hours in Baghdad before being freed last weekend, sparked outrage when he said of his captors: “(From their perspective) there was a reason to kill (British hostage Ken) Bigley, there was a reason to kill the Americans; there was not a reason to kill me (and) luckily I managed to convince them of that.”
Mr Downer said today it was pretty much the most appalling thing any Australian had said about the Iraq war.
He accused Mr Martinkus of giving comfort to terrorists by saying that their actions were understandable.
“I just could not believe he said those things, I was just appalled,” Mr Downer told Melbourne radio 3AW.
“That is exactly what people should not do; they should never, unintentionally or intentionally … give comfort to terrorists in this way. It’s a terrible thing to have said.
“(It’s) pretty close to the most appalling thing any Australian has said about the situation in Iraq.”
Mr Pratt, a former CARE Australia worker who was held hostage in war-torn Yugoslavia for more than five months in 1999, said Mr Martinkus’ comments were outrageous.
“There is no mistaking the arrogance in his remarks — the disgusting disregard for the deaths of British hostage Ken Bigley and US civilians murdered by terrorists,” Mr Pratt wrote in a letter The Australian newspaper.
“There is no excuse for anybody hacking off those poor men’s heads. But Martinkus seems to be making excuses for their executioners.”