Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Paul Marshall Johnson, Jr.
Paul Marshall Johnson, Jr. (May 8, 1955 - June 18(?), 2004) was an American helicopter engineer who lived in Saudi Arabia. He was a native of Stafford Township and Eagleswood Township, both of New Jersey.
Johnson, who worked for Lockheed Martin on upgrading Saudi AH-64A Apache attack helicopters, was kidnapped and taken hostage by a terrorist group claiming to be part of Al-Qaida. The group, headed by Abdel Aziz al-Muqrin, posted a video of Johnson on an Islamist website on June 15, 2004. Johnson was blindfolded, and a man armed with an AK-47 could be seen next to him. Johnson made some statements similar to the ones made by Nick Berg before Berg was killed (not long before Johnson was taken hostage). The video was also similar to that of Daniel Pearl, who was killed in Pakistan in 2002, and Kim Sun-il, a South Korean who was killed in Iraq during the same month not long after Johnson was killed in Saudi Arabia.
The video was released on the same day that Crown Prince Abdullah promised to step up security and investigations against militant Islamic groups in Saudi Arabia.
Johnson was described by his son, Paul Johnson III, as a lover of Saudi Arabian culture who often sent verses of the Koran to his daughter.
Immediately after the video was released, American and Saudi Arabian authorities began to deal with the hostage situation. Both the United States and Saudi Arabia asserted that they would not comply with the kidnappers' demands. Those demands included, but were not limited to, releasing all terrorists being held in Saudi custody.
At 17h30 UTC on June 18, Al-Arabiya and CNN reported that Johnson had been beheaded. This report is based on three photographs of the murder posted on the Internet. Saudi officials initially claimed to have discovered Johnson's body near Riyadh later that day, but on June 19 those claims were withdrawn. The Saudi government withheld official proclamation of Johnson's death until the body is found.
HostingAnime, the company which hosts images and video of his execution, have defended showing his execution.
Also on June 18, Al-Muqrin and three other suspects on Saudi Arabia's most wanted list were killed. It is believed that their deaths occurred while disposing of Johnson's body.
- 2003 invasion of Iraq
- Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse
- Human rights situation in post-Saddam Iraq
- Fabrizio Quattrocchi
- WARNING: These links contain images of graphic violence that may be offensive and/or disturbing to some readers.
- http://capetown.homeip.net/paul-johnson-beheading.wmv - Full Paul Johanson beheading video
- http://www.hostinganime.com/neda3/sout - First website carrying the beheading footage
- http://www.ogrish.com/ogrish-dot-com-paul-johnson-beheading-video-full-version.wmv - The Paul Johnson beheading video
- http://www.ogrish.com/paul-johnson-hostage-video.wmv - The Paul Johnson hostage video
- http://www.drudgereport.com/jp.htm - The three pictures together
- http://www.ogrish.com/paul-johnson-beheaded.jpg - The letter and the three snapshots
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