New appeal for Norman Kember highlights health concerns - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
January 24, 2006

New appeal for Norman Kember highlights health concerns

-24/01/06

Pat Kember, wife of the 74-year-old peace campaigner Norman Kember, who has been held hostage in Iraq for two months, appealed again for the release of her ailing husband in a televised message aired by the al-Jazeera network.

Dr Kember, together with American Tom Fox and Canadians Jim Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden, were kidnapped outside a mosque in Baghdad on 26 November 2005. They had been working for justice for Iraqi detainees.

ìPlease show compassion and mercy. Please release [Norman] and his friends soon,î said Mrs Kember, who lives in north London. ìThey are good people and they will resume work to make Iraq safer and more peaceful.î

She added: ìI am extremely worried because his condition might be deteriorating. He suffers from high blood pressure and from aneurysm (swelling of an artery).î

The Qatar-based television station showed the tape yesterday. It dubbed the message into Arabic so that the abductors and those known to them would be able to receive it.

The Swords of Truth Brigades, a previously unknown group who carried out the kidnapping, issued a video of the four men and initially accused them of being spies of the US-led forces. It threatened to kill them unless prisoners in Iraqi jails were freed.

Muslim scholars and activists from around the world, including leaders of the militant Hamas and Hizbollah groups, have appealed for the release of the peace workers. They say that they are friends of Iraq and also of the Palestinian people.

There have been protests and vigils on their behalf in Gaza and Hebron, too. Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has a positive profile their.

Thousands of civilians have been kidnapped since the fall of Saddam Hussein, including more than 200 foreigners seized by gangs seeking ransom or insurgents trying to pressure their governments to withdraw from Iraq.

Many foreign hostages have been released, but around 50 have been killed. Supporters of the CPT four are hopeful that the men will be freed, given their public opposition to war and occupation.

Regular appeals are now being made on radio, TV and in the Iraqi press on behalf of the Christian peacemakers.

Islamic radicals detained in the USA and Britain have also called for their release, along with senior Sunni clerics and envoys sent on behalf of Muslim organizations in Canada and Britain.

Regular vigils are being held for the four in their countries of origin. A few days ago the Nottingham branch of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) held a vigil for Dr Kember, a friend of the organizer.

In the USA Christian Peacemaker Teams are seeking a meeting with President George Bush to discuss Iraq policy, the plight of the hostages and the injustices meted out against Iraqi detainees.

[Also on Ekklesia: Updates - FaithInSociety. News excerpts - Young people urged to give peace a PowerPoint 22/01/06; More UK vigils announced for Norman Kember and Iraqi peace activists 21/01/06; Christian Peacemakers in Iraq replace team member as crisis continues 20/01/06; New London vigil for Norman Kember announced; Christians and Muslims show continued support for Norman Kember; Kember supporters urged to keep hope alive; Birmingham inter-faith vigil for Kember and Iraq peace workers; Supporters of Iraq captives reissue media appeals; Muslim envoy may return to Iraq for CPT four; Jill Carroll's captors issue videotape demands; Peacemaker vigils in Washington and Toronto focus on Iraq policy; Vigils go on for Christian Peacemaker Teams hostages in Iraq; Journalist kidnapped in Iraq as friends pray for peace workers]

New appeal for Norman Kember highlights health concerns

-24/01/06

Pat Kember, wife of the 74-year-old peace campaigner Norman Kember, who has been held hostage in Iraq for two months, appealed again for the release of her ailing husband in a televised message aired by the al-Jazeera network.

Dr Kember, together with American Tom Fox and Canadians Jim Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden, were kidnapped outside a mosque in Baghdad on 26 November 2005. They had been working for justice for Iraqi detainees.

'Please show compassion and mercy. Please release [Norman] and his friends soon,' said Mrs Kember, who lives in north London. 'They are good people and they will resume work to make Iraq safer and more peaceful.'

She added: 'I am extremely worried because his condition might be deteriorating. He suffers from high blood pressure and from aneurysm (swelling of an artery).'

The Qatar-based television station showed the tape yesterday. It dubbed the message into Arabic so that the abductors and those known to them would be able to receive it.

The Swords of Truth Brigades, a previously unknown group who carried out the kidnapping, issued a video of the four men and initially accused them of being spies of the US-led forces. It threatened to kill them unless prisoners in Iraqi jails were freed.

Muslim scholars and activists from around the world, including leaders of the militant Hamas and Hizbollah groups, have appealed for the release of the peace workers. They say that they are friends of Iraq and also of the Palestinian people.

There have been protests and vigils on their behalf in Gaza and Hebron, too. Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has a positive profile their.

Thousands of civilians have been kidnapped since the fall of Saddam Hussein, including more than 200 foreigners seized by gangs seeking ransom or insurgents trying to pressure their governments to withdraw from Iraq.

Many foreign hostages have been released, but around 50 have been killed. Supporters of the CPT four are hopeful that the men will be freed, given their public opposition to war and occupation.

Regular appeals are now being made on radio, TV and in the Iraqi press on behalf of the Christian peacemakers.

Islamic radicals detained in the USA and Britain have also called for their release, along with senior Sunni clerics and envoys sent on behalf of Muslim organizations in Canada and Britain.

Regular vigils are being held for the four in their countries of origin. A few days ago the Nottingham branch of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) held a vigil for Dr Kember, a friend of the organizer.

In the USA Christian Peacemaker Teams are seeking a meeting with President George Bush to discuss Iraq policy, the plight of the hostages and the injustices meted out against Iraqi detainees.

[Also on Ekklesia: Updates - FaithInSociety. News excerpts - Young people urged to give peace a PowerPoint 22/01/06; More UK vigils announced for Norman Kember and Iraqi peace activists 21/01/06; Christian Peacemakers in Iraq replace team member as crisis continues 20/01/06; New London vigil for Norman Kember announced; Christians and Muslims show continued support for Norman Kember; Kember supporters urged to keep hope alive; Birmingham inter-faith vigil for Kember and Iraq peace workers; Supporters of Iraq captives reissue media appeals; Muslim envoy may return to Iraq for CPT four; Jill Carroll's captors issue videotape demands; Peacemaker vigils in Washington and Toronto focus on Iraq policy; Vigils go on for Christian Peacemaker Teams hostages in Iraq; Journalist kidnapped in Iraq as friends pray for peace workers]

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