Wednesday, December 07, 2005

UK : Jailed terror suspect makes Iraq kidnap plea

A terror suspect held in a British jail has made a unprecedented video appeal for the release of Briton Norman Kember, taken hostage with three others in Iraq last month. Radical cleric Abu Qatada, detained since 2002, urged the kidnappers to free the hostage "in line with the principle of mercy of our religion".


Mr Kember's wife, Pat, also appealed for the release of her 74-year-old husband, from Pinner in north London.

The kidnappers have threatened to kill the hostages on Thursday.

The Foreign Office said Qatada volunteered to be filmed addressing the hostage-takers - who claim to belong to a group called the Swords of Truth. The terror suspect said on the video: "I am your brother Abu Qatada, Omar bin Mahmud Abu Omar, who is imprisoned in Full Sutton jail in Britain.

"I urge my brothers in the Brigades of Swords of Right in Iraq to release them in line with the principle of mercy of our religion, if there was no compelling religious duty against it."

Qatada, described by a Spanish judge as al-Qaeda's ambassador in Europe, was briefly released under a control order earlier this year before being re-arrested facing deportation to Jordan.

It is believed to be the first time a serving prisoner in the UK has made such an appeal.


Watch the appeal being made BBC (video)

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