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Former Hostages Forgive Iraqi Captors


December 19, 2006 | bpfna

The three surviving members of a Christian Peacemaker Teams group that went to Baghdad last year on a peacemaking mission have said they "unconditionally forgive" their captors. BPFNA member Norman Kember, James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden (pictured left to right) released a joint statement saying, "We unconditionally forgive our captors for abducting and holding us. We have no desire to punish them. Punishment can never restore what was taken from us." They also said they oppose the death penalty for the hostage-takers.

Their statement further indicated that, although their captors caused "great suffering" to them and their families, they hold no malice towards them and have "no wish for retribution". The "cycle of violence" in Iraq did not justify the kidnappers' actions, but should be considered in any potential judgment, they said.

The men added: "The death penalty is an irrevocable judgment. It erases all possibility that those who have harmed others, even seriously, can yet turn to good. We oppose the death penalty."

Norman Kember said he would participate in a trial only to plead for clemency.

The fourth member of the CPT group that went to Iraq, Tom Fox, was found shot to death in Baghdad last March.

read more and see an interview with Norman Kember from the BBC

photo: AFP/Odd Andersen

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