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US Journalist Terry Anderson, Held Hostage In Lebanon For Years, Dies

Anderson entering a press conference in Syria after his release in 1991

US journalist Terry Anderson, who was held hostage for nearly seven years during Lebanon’s civil war, has died.

BBC reports that Anderson died at the age of 76.

Anderson was reportedly the chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press when he was captured by militants in 1985 during what became known as the Lebanon hostage crisis.

He died at his home in Greenwood Lake, New York, on Sunday, his daughter, Sulome said.

Sulome Anderson said he had found peace in recent years after the ordeal.

“He never liked to be called a hero, but that’s what everyone persisted in calling him,” she said.

“Though my father’s life was marked by extreme suffering during his time as a hostage in captivity, he found a quiet, comfortable peace in recent years.

“I know he would choose to be remembered not by his very worst experience, but through his humanitarian work with the Vietnam Children’s Fund, the Committee to Protect Journalists, homeless veterans and many other incredible causes.”

Louis Boccardi, who ran the Associated Press during Anderson’s captivity, was among those who remembered him as a “hero”.

“The word ‘hero’ gets tossed around a lot but applying it to Terry Anderson just enhances it,” Boccardi said.

Anderson was abducted in Beirut on 16 March, 1985. He had just finished playing tennis when gunmen dragged him into a car and sped away.

His sister Peggy Say, who died in 2015, fiercely advocated for the release of her brother and his fellow captives.

The majority of the more than 100 held between 1982 and 1992 were from the US and western Europe, including Church of England envoy Terry Waite who was taken hostage by the group holding Anderson when negotiations broke down on 20 January 1987. Waite was freed in 1991 after 1,763 days.

For much of the time Waite was kept in solitary confinement, chained to a radiator, beaten and subjected to mock executions.

Anderson passed on news of the outside world to Waite during his isolation by tapping on the walls between their cells.

Anderson was eventually released in 1991 as the civil war ended. He met his daughter, who was born shortly after his abduction, for the first time when she was six years old.

After his release, Anderson taught Journalism at various US colleges including Columbia University in New York before retiring in 2015.

He also wrote a best-selling autobiography, Den of Lions, detailing his time in captivity. — BBC

Source: BBC via SG.

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