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Westerners held in Iraq appeal for release-TV - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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DUBAI,(Reuters) – Three of four Christian peace activists held hostage in Iraq were shown in a video played on Al Jazeera television on Tuesday and looked in good health.

The men had called on Gulf Arab leaders and their own governments to help free them, the station said.

The video, dated Feb. 28, was the first since the hostage-takers said in January that U.S.-led forces had one last chance to free Iraqi prisoners or the men would be killed.

The men shown appeared to be Briton Norman Kember and Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Sooden. The three along with American Tom Fox were kidnapped in November.

The video showed the three men sitting in a room. They appeared in good health and were speaking to the camera, but their voices could not be heard.

A group calling itself the Swords of Truth kidnapped the men in Baghdad, where they were working with a Christian peace organisation.

Britain’s Foreign Office called for their immediate release.

“To release a video of this kind is obviously extremely distressing for the relatives and our thoughts are with them as well as with the victims, who have been held now for more than 100 days,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

“They are peace campaigners dedicated o helping other people and should be freed immediately to spare both them and their families further distress.”

Muslim scholars and activists from around the world have appealed for the release of the aid workers.

More than 200 foreigners and thousands of Iraqis have been kidnapped since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Fifty-four foreign hostages are known to have been executed by their captors.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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