Mother of captured journalist pleads with ISIS for his release

The mother of an American journalist held captive by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) made a plea for her son’s life in a video released Tuesday. 

Shirley Sotloff appealed directly to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader, asking him to show mercy on her son, Steven Joel Sotloff.

"As a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over," she said in a video released to news organizations.

"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,” she added. “I want what every mother wants: To live to see her children's children. I plead with you to grant me this." 

ISIS released a video last week showing the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley. The group has also threatened to execute Sotloff if the U.S. does not stop airstrikes targeting the group in Iraq. 

"Steven is a journalist who traveled to the Middle East to cover the suffering of Muslims at the hands of tyrants," the journalist's mother continued in her video. "Steven is a loyal and generous son, brother and grandson. He is an honorable man and has always tried to help the weak."

President Obama has called the ISIS murder of Foley appalling and vowed that the U.S. would do what it must to protect its citizens. 

"We will be vigilant and we will be relentless," Obama said in a statement last week. "When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done."