Brother of aid worker murdered by ISIS reveals they had secret code in case of capture

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THE brother of murdered aid worker David Haines has revealed they worked out a secret code in case he was captured.

Scot David Haines was beheaded by terrorist group ISIS in 2014 after he was captured whilst conducting aid work in Syria.

Now his brother, Mike, close to the second anniversary of the tragedy, has revealed that he and David discussed the danger of kidnapping ahead of the fateful trip.

Mike, 50, from Dundee, said: “We sat and discussed every possible scenario, including being eaten by lions.

“We had established codewords and secret punctuation that only we knew about, so that if he ever managed to get a message to me he could tell me what had happened without alerting his captors.”

Credit: Flickr, Day Donaldson
Credit: Flickr, Day Donaldson

During his 19-month captivity Haines, who grew up with his brother in Perth, appeared in two videos – including the propaganda film showing his beheading.

But in neither did he managed to get a message to his brother.

Mike has also revealed that he was primed to negotiate with terrorists for the release of his brother.

He explained: “David and the family had always agreed with government policy and he never wanted us to pay a king’s ransom for him.

“I did training with the hostage negotiation unit and my details were made public in Syria to try and get David’s captors to contact me.

“For the training, I had to speak to the unit as if I was speaking to David or the hostage-takers.

“I had to speak to someone pretending to be David while he was being tortured.

“Obviously, this was a very difficult thing to do.”

He has also revealed that it fell to him – on 13 September 2014 – to break the news of his brother’s execution to the rest of his family.

“I had never told my family about the bad treatment he was receiving”, Mike explained.

“I didn’t think they needed to know that. What was in their imagination would have been bad enough”

Now Mike has discussed how he is working for peace campaign group Global Acts of Unity – speaking in front of more than 10,000 people worldwide.

He said: “I’m always nervous about going into schools and standing up in front of hundreds of pupils, but from the point where I start talking to the point where I finish you can hear a pin drop.

“And there’s always someone who comes up to me and says: ‘You’ve really made me think.’

“That, to me, is a win – and that’s what keeps me going.”

David was captured in March 2013 whilst working at a refugee camp near the Syrian border.

The UK Foreign Office asked David’s family not to reveal to the public that David had been kidnapped initially.

But the capture became widespread knowledge after David appeared in the background of another execution video.

US officials attempted a daring rescue mission for Haines and a number of other prisoners in July 2014.

It failed after the hostages were moved just 24 hours prior, and Haine’s execution video appeared on September 13.

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