The Roman Catholic Priest Held Hostage in Lebanon



This is our final episode on Father Lawrence. Martin Janko a Catholic priest taken hostage by a Lebanese terrorist organization. Last week we examined the curious. Mix Up that led to Father Chen Coz capture sure we also followed the trajectory of the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah and they're extremist co founder. Imad Mugniyah this week. We'll delve into the wretched. Living conditions and abuse Father Janko experienced in captivity will also follow his family's campaign for his release and the multiple to free Father Janko and other US hostages in Lebanon late January nineteen eighty five. Fifty year-old Father Janko was chained to a radiator in the dirty kitchen of an apartment overlooking overlooking Lebanon's because valley on his lap lay an abridged version of David Copperfield. That one of his guards had given him. He must have read it ten times. Already with the glasses he'd had in his pocket when he was captured reaching beneath his sweater he pulled out a raw potato and nibbled nibbled off a piece he placed it near the small hole where his friends family of ants. Were busy foraging. Father Janko envied their freedom freedom. He had been in this filthy kitchen for nearly a month and he still didn't know why nevertheless he had adapted to a little routine meals. Sales were three times a day. Lebanese bread rice fava beans and the occasional vegetable. He was also given one daily trip to the toilet for a while. This visit to the bathroom included a hot shower. Then the boiler in the basement exploded. It had been weeks since he had felt. It's even remotely clean or warm the radiator. He was chained to didn't work and at night. His guards had pile blankets on top of him to keep him from freezing being the end. He was still experiencing occasional tightness around his heart the day before his capture Father Janko had visited a doctor for tests he tried not to dwell. On what the results might have been especially since his father had died at age fifty three from heart attack his two guards. Guards provided occasional distractions during the long days. They were gentle towards father. Janko calling him a Buna the Arabic word for our father father if he was lucky they would strike up a small conversation in broken English. One Guard told a story of his sister visiting a restaurant in Switzerland island not knowing a common word for chicken she had to act it out. The guard burst into laughter and Father Janko couldn't help but chuckle. To one of the men occasionally brought Father Janko a small bag of cookies from his wife. The other gave him Muslim prayer beads to add to the Catholic Rosary. He'd made out of potato sack strings. These small relationships brought a mild sense of comfort to Father Janko during his seemingly endless days but he was otherwise alone. Most of the long quiet hours were passed by praying with his rosary although he had other more devious ways of passing the time every every so often soldiers would bring fresh food like mutton potatoes and tomatoes to the apartment. Father Janko found chances to sneak pieces of food food off the kitchen counter. He would hide them in his close to snack on between meals or to share with the family of ants. Uh One afternoon. In February Father Janko spied a jeep coming over the hill. He grabbed the sweater. He used as a blindfold. A car meant visitors and he was expected to wear a blindfold anytime someone new entered the apartment a few minutes later a strange man strode into the kitchen. Hitchin through the loose. We've his blindfold father. Janko could detect has dark eyebrows a bushy beard and a strong frame. UNBEKNOWNST to him him this was very man who had ordered his kidnapping. The Stranger crouched in front Father Janko and began to speak an interpreter behind him. Said my name is had Rodwin. Conversation was brief had Radwan did not explain y Father Janko had been kidnapped. He simply told him that he would be going home soon. Father Djenka would hear that word. Many times is over. The next eighteen months he would eventually come to mistrust it but for now he clung to this scrap of hope it would be many a years before he or anyone outside of Hezbollah would realize that had Radwan was a pseudonym the man standing before Father Janko was Imad odd move Nia the founder of Hezbollah Hezbollah was Lebanese. Shia extremist group funded by Shia revolutionaries and Iran and the group took root in the months following. Israel's nineteen eighty-two invasion of Lebanon their main goal was to drive Israel and its western Western allies out of Lebanon and to establish a pro Islamic government in the capital city of Beirut at the time of Father Jean Coz kidnapping Hezbollah was still an underground militia who outwardly call themselves Islamic Jihad which means holy war in in December of Nineteen eighty-three. Imad Mughniyah had helped orchestrate the Hezbollah bombing six locations and Kuwait City including the US embassy in the aftermath. Seventeen Shia radicals were captured by the Kuwaiti government. One of them was a mods best friend and brother-in-law Mustafa Body in retaliation for Mustafa's capture Imad had ordered the kidnapping of several. US citizens in Beirut route. He hoped that President Ronald Reagan would pressure the Kuwaiti government to release their seventeen prisoners. But the Reagan administration at least at that point had a staunch policy against negotiating with terrorists to do so would only incite more acts of terrorism in the midst of this impasse. Father Other Janko had been abducted. His was the fifth of eight American kidnappings connected to Hezbollah although one prisoner Jerry. Levin would escape on Valentine's Day February fourteenth nineteen eighty five that morning father Jenkins Guards burst into his his room panicked. They ordered him to put on his blindfold as they unfathomable chains in his haste. Father Janko didn't think to grab his glasses or his rosary. They let him down the hall and into another room of the apartment through his blindfold. He could see a rope. made a bed sheets dangling from a small window high up on the wall. Jerry Levin's exit route. Then to strange men marched into the room and brought Father Janko outside ride an escaped captive could compromise their location. So they would have to move Father Janko quickly. They shoved him into a car trunk and sped off

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