Release of French engineer brings Iraq hostage hope - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
January 8, 2006

Release of French engineer brings Iraq hostage hope

-08/01/06

The friends, relatives and supporters of four Christian peace workers held hostage in Iraq for a month-and-a-half have been cheered this morning by news of the release of a French engineer abducted in December 2005.

Iraqi security officials and the French government say that Bernard Planche, aged 52, was released at a US checkpoint near Abu Ghraib jail, twenty miles west of Baghdad, on Saturday.

French President Jacques Chirac has welcomed the news of Mr Planche's release in a statement.

Mr Planche, a water treatment engineer who was working for a small charity in Iraq, was kidnapped from his home in Baghdad by gunmen in December 2005.

A video was later issued by a previously unknown militant group showing him with a gun to his head.

His family made appeals for his release on Arabic satellite television, saying he was in Iraq only to help its reconstruction and its people.

Similar appeals are being made for Norman Kember, Tom Fox, Jim Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden, who were captured outside a Baghdad mosque on 26 November 2005.

At the time the CPT volunteers were talking to Sunni clerics about how to assist people illegally detained by coalition and other forces.

Abu Ghraib, the site of Mr Plancheís release, is a former notorious detention and torture centre of the Saddam Hussein regime. It was taken over by the Americans after the war and occupation of the country in 2003.

Under the US, serious mistreatment of many of the 5,000 Iraqi detainees held there took place. This was first made known as a result of research carried out by Christian Peacemaker Teams, although the media overlooked this at the time.

[Also on Ekklesia: Briefing on Christian Peacemaker Teams; Christian Peacemakers and the peace movement; Evidence of Iraqi torture presented four months ago; Muslim detainees plead for lives of Christian peacemakers; Christian peacemakers have evidence of 'secret prisons' in Iraq; Advent hope for Iraq, captives and Limbaugh; Churches turn fire on interrogation techniques of US and others; Book about radical priest questions morality of US foreign policy]

Release of French engineer brings Iraq hostage hope

-08/01/06

The friends, relatives and supporters of four Christian peace workers held hostage in Iraq for a month-and-a-half have been cheered this morning by news of the release of a French engineer abducted in December 2005.

Iraqi security officials and the French government say that Bernard Planche, aged 52, was released at a US checkpoint near Abu Ghraib jail, twenty miles west of Baghdad, on Saturday.

French President Jacques Chirac has welcomed the news of Mr Planche's release in a statement.

Mr Planche, a water treatment engineer who was working for a small charity in Iraq, was kidnapped from his home in Baghdad by gunmen in December 2005.

A video was later issued by a previously unknown militant group showing him with a gun to his head.

His family made appeals for his release on Arabic satellite television, saying he was in Iraq only to help its reconstruction and its people.

Similar appeals are being made for Norman Kember, Tom Fox, Jim Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden, who were captured outside a Baghdad mosque on 26 November 2005.

At the time the CPT volunteers were talking to Sunni clerics about how to assist people illegally detained by coalition and other forces.

Abu Ghraib, the site of Mr Planche's release, is a former notorious detention and torture centre of the Saddam Hussein regime. It was taken over by the Americans after the war and occupation of the country in 2003.

Under the US, serious mistreatment of many of the 5,000 Iraqi detainees held there took place. This was first made known as a result of research carried out by Christian Peacemaker Teams, although the media overlooked this at the time.

[Also on Ekklesia: Briefing on Christian Peacemaker Teams; Christian Peacemakers and the peace movement; Evidence of Iraqi torture presented four months ago; Muslim detainees plead for lives of Christian peacemakers; Christian peacemakers have evidence of 'secret prisons' in Iraq; Advent hope for Iraq, captives and Limbaugh; Churches turn fire on interrogation techniques of US and others; Book about radical priest questions morality of US foreign policy]

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