In 1987, while travelling on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury to help in negotiating the release of western hostages captured by Hezbollah, Terry Waite was himself taken prisoner. He was held, largely in solitary confinement, for almost five years and was subject to torture and mock executions during the first year of his captivity.
As the main parties try to re-instate 'politics as usual' in the wake of the MPs' expenses scandal and growing dissatisfaction with the current system, a new wave of potential non-party candidates is emerging in the wings.
Church and community leaders across Britain have stressed the importance of voting to stop racist and extremist candidates in today's European and local elections. Polling stations are open between 7am and 10pm.
Cynicism about politicians and political institutions runs very deep, says Terry Waite. But the current crisis is also an opportunity for change, for reinvesting politics with hope and the participation of people from outside 'the party system'.
Former Lebanon hostage and archbishop's envoy Terry Waite has called for charges against British computer hacker Gary McKinnon to be dropped, amid fears for his safety if he is extradited from the UK to the USA.