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Friday, October 28, 2016
Vigils mark 100 days captivity in Iraq
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 Vigils will be held around the UK on 4 - 5 March to mark 100 days since British hostage Norman Kember disappeared in Iraq with three other members of a Christian Peacemakers team. Hundreds of paper doves will be a symbol of renewed hope for those at an inter faith gathering of friends and supporters from 3pm on Sunday in Trafalgar Square. The kidnappers, who call themselves 'The Swords of Righteousness Brigades,' set several deadlines in December for the US to release its prisoners, but the deadlines passed without further word. A second video was screened on Aljazeera satellite channel on 28 January, showing Norman Kember, Tom Fox, Harmeet Singh Sooden and James Loney, who were working in Iraq with Christian Peacemaker Teams. The chain of vigils in many towns and cities was the idea of the Baptist Peace Fellowship. Details can be found at . Everyone is welcome. Norman Kember has been involved both in the Baptist Peace Fellowship and in Fellowship of Reconciliation (FoR), an international network of religious pacifists and with Pax Christi. His wife, Pat Kember said this week: "Norman has always been involved in peace-making activities ever since he chose to do hospital work instead of national service. He went with a peace team to support those who were suffering in Iraq. On 26 November he and Tom, James and Harmeet were taken as hostages. Two videos have been shown and two deadlines have passed." She said the time since the men disappeared had been 'traumatic' and added "but we have been wonderfully supported by our friends, by church people of all denominations, by people of other faiths, including Muslims and by hundreds of well-wishers worldwide. I'd like to thank everyone who is taking the time and trouble to pray and to send cards, letters and flowers." An Open Letter written in support of the missing men and signed by many Muslims and Christians said: 'We long for true peace to be restored to the people of Iraq and we ask our government to do all it can to secure this peace. This must include: - clear condemnation of detention without charge and the abuse of prisoners - accountability on the part of all UK military personnel for their treatment of prisoners and of the Iraqi people - work with the Iraqi authorities to ensure that the highest United Nations human rights standards of treatment and due process for detainees are met.'
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