Former ISIS hostage: Jihadi John forced me to tango with him

A former Islamic State hostage has given a vivid description of the group’s brutal Western executioner, Jihadi John, saying not only was he sadistic, but bizarre, forcing him to dance with him before beating him.

Daniel Rye, a 26-year-old photographer from Denmark, was held captive in Syria by the group for over a year, and said that one of his jailers was the brutal figure in black who carried out multiple beheading in IS videos.

In an interview with Danish broadcaster DR, Rye said Jihadi John asked: “Do you want to dance?’

“Then he took me up, and we were supposed to dance the Tango together, John and I. He led me around the prison. At that point, I just looked down at the ground the whole time because I did not want to look at them – if you looked them in the eye you would just get beaten even more. Suddenly, he changed and just pushed me down. They kicked and hit me. They finished by threatening to cut my nose off with pliers and things like that.”

Rye was the last hostage to be released alive on June 19 last year after his family paid a ransom of over $3 million to the group for him to be released alive.

Jihadi John was exposed Mohammad Emwazi, a British citizen from a well-to-do London family who was known to security services.


Dressed entirely in black, a balaclava covering all but his eyes and the bridge of his nose and a holster under his left arm, Jihadi John became a menacing symbol of Islamic State brutality and one of the world’s most wanted men.

Rye’s account echoed the descriptions given by other former IS hostage, French journalists Didier Francois and Nicholas Henin, who described Jihadi John and a group of four British IS captors known as “the Beatles” as the most brutal of their captors.

“When they came in to the prison, you could smell them,” Rye said. “They had this very strong scent that was just … the Beatles’, full strength. And sometimes we could smell them before they even came in to the prison. It was [sniff], The Beatles and then people would put their arms up against the wall in case they came in.”

The torture, Rye said, was so awful that he even considered taking his own life.

“I decided that I didn’t want to be a part of this world anymore,” he said. “So I took that chain around my neck and actually secured it with my little finger so that it couldn’t just loosen and then I hopped and tried to take my own life.”

Michael Weiss, co-author of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, told CNN that supporters of IS have reacted online “with glee, trying to draw a moral equivalence between the mistreatment of jihadi suspects by American interrogators and the mistreatment of kidnapped Westerners by ISIS — from the orange jumpsuits to the forced stress positions.”

Emwazi was born in Kuwait but came to Britain aged 6 and graduated with a computer programming degree from the University of Westminster before coming to the attention of Britain’s main domestic intelligence service, MI5, according to an account given by Asim Qureshi, the research director of the Cage charity that campaigns for those detained on terrorism charges.

Emwazi, a fluent Arabic speaker, said MI5 had tried to recruit him and then prevented him from traveling abroad, forcing him to flee abroad without telling his family, Qureshi told a news conference in London.

According to some reports, Emwazi believes that the jihadist terror group no longer has any use for him and is terrified of being hunted down by its militants, and has fled Syria.