Freed Briton honors fellow Mideast captives

August 18, 1991|By New York Times News Service

LONDON -- John McCarthy, the British hostage freed in Beirut eight days ago, paid an emotional tribute yesterday to Westerners still captive in Lebanon as he left the Royal Air Force base where he has been recuperating since his release.

Mr. McCarthy, who flew off with his father and brother to an undisclosed location, spoke warmly of the courage, strength and friendship of two American hostages, Terry A. Anderson and Thomas M. Sutherland, and a British captive, Anglican church envoy Terry Waite.

Mr. McCarthy shared his captivity with those three.

"It is an honor to know these men, and my greatest hope is to continue our friendship in freedom together," Mr. McCarthy, 34, said in brief remarks at the base at Lyneham in southern England.

He also singled out Brian Keenan, the Irish hostage who was released last year. Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Keenan were held captive together for 4 1/2 years.

"Without Brian, I would not have made it," Mr. McCarthy said.

Since his release by Islamic Jihad, or Islamic Holy War, the pro-Iranian group that held him captive for more than five years, Mr. McCarthy has remained in virtual seclusion inside the base, where he has undergone extensive medical and psychological tests and debriefings.

Mr. McCarthy, a television news producer, has so far disclosed no details of his years in captivity.

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