Freed Taliban hostage Timothy Weeks told Scott Morrison his faith had given him strength to survive more than three years in shackled captivity. Source: The Australian.
Mr Weeks, the English teacher kidnapped at gunpoint in Afghanistan in August 2016, said in a private meeting with the Prime Minister in Parliament House on Wednesday that he had no alternative other than to keep hope that he would be rescued.
Mr Weeks took Mr Morrison through the harrowing details of his time in captivity and, a short time later, the drama of Parliament’s question time was suspended to allow the house to give a standing ovation to the Australian academic who was watching proceedings from the public gallery.
Mr Morrison, who presented Mr Weeks with a Bible, told Parliament that Mr Weeks’s story highlighted the resilience and “irrepressible optimism” of the Australian character.
“Together with the Deputy Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister, I had the great privilege to meet with Tim Weeks, who has come home to Australia after one of the most incredible ordeals that you could imagine an Australian to go through,” Mr Morrison said.
Freed by the Taliban in a prisoner swap two weeks ago, Mr Weeks had spent three years in captivity with fellow hostage, American professor Kevin King.
Both men had worked at the American University of Afghanistan and were abducted by gunmen in August 2016 while travelling by car.
Mr Weeks has said the time he spent as a hostage had a “profound and unimaginable” effect on him and he had emerged from the ordeal with a “great sense of hope and a great sense of confidence.”
Deputy prime minister Michael McCormack said Mr Weeks had told “one of the most inspiring stories” he had ever heard. He also said they had gone to the same Catholic schools in Wagga.
“We went to the same schools together — St Michael’s Regional High School and Trinity Senior High School. He probably was far more studious than I. He’s truly an inspiration.”