Footage of Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan from television network Al Jazeera which was aired last year.
Footage of Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan from television network Al Jazeera which was aired last year.

Captives embrace liberty

WHILE Nigel Brennan could be home within days, the scars of his time in captivity will take a lot longer to heal after he reported being tortured during his 15-month imprisonment.

But as 37-year-old Mr Brennan and his companion Amanda Lindhout revelled in the first precious moments of freedom, they looked forward to the simple pleasures waiting for them at home — like a razor and a bar of soap.

“(Mr Brennan) said he has never shaved in a year and wants to take off his beard,” Somali reporter Mohamed Omar Hussein told the NewsMail.

Mr Hussein went to the hotel where the pair was staying before they boarded a flight to Nairobi, to speak with government officials and the released duo’s handlers.

“They said last night Amanda cried twice when she was sleeping,” Mr Hussein said.

“When she woke up, she said it was because she was so happy.”

But Mr Brennan told the Reuters news service that the experience had “been pretty arduous”, with the pair suffering physical and mental torture.

“Locked in a room, very little light... You know, simple things like being told not to smile, not to laugh — not that there was much too laugh about,” he told Reuters by telephone.

“But my friend Amanda had a pretty rough time... She was severely beaten and we were both tortured, both mentally and physically.

“Being pistol whipped is sort of torture, being completely stripped of everything and then locked in a room, no-one to speak to, is a form of torture, really.”

Mr Brennan said he and Ms Lindhout — who were held separately — had no idea they were about to be released before they were “ripped out of our rooms”.

“(We were) stripped of everything, told to put on new clothes and then thrown in a car and then driven — we had no idea what was going on,” he said.

“We’ve been through a pretty rough time, both of us. Just to be free is amazing.”

Ms Lindhout told Canadian television she was beaten and tortured, and kept in oppressive conditions.

Like Mr Brennan, she was kept in a room with little natural light, given little food and allowed to use the toilet only five times a day.

“Basically, my day was sitting on a corner, on the floor, 24 hours a day for the last 15 months,” she said.

“There were times that I was beaten, that I was tortured. It was an extremely, extremely difficult situation.”

She said the kidnappers told her they were beating her because the money “wasn’t coming quickly enough”.

“They seemed to think that if they beat me enough, I would be able to say the right thing to convince (my mother) to pay the ransom for me, which was $1 million,” she said.

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