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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 April 2007, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Text: Family's letter to Alan Johnston
As part of an international day of action appealing for the release of BBC journalist Alan Johnston, his father, Graham, read out an open letter to the journalist from his family.

Hello old son,

I don't know if you will see this but I just felt that I wanted you to know how distressed and sorry we all are that you were taken.

You had warned us frequently that the chances were always there that you would be kidnapped and we were prepared in a way for this to happen. Nevertheless when it came, it was still a considerable shock.

There are so many people worldwide all hoping and praying for your release, not least of which I'm sure, are the vast majority of the Palestinian population

Now, you have not to worry about us. Your mum and Trini and I are hanging in there and trying to keep a stiff upper lip. The support we have had from your friends and colleagues at home and abroad has been phenomenal, especially the BBC who have cosseted us and to whom our profuse thanks go for keeping us abreast of the situation.

There are so many people worldwide all hoping and praying for your release, not least of which I'm sure, are the vast majority of the Palestinian population, many of whom have told us they are ashamed that you were kidnapped. We know how much you enjoyed your work there.

Your fellow local journalists are doing a magnificent job holding demonstrations calling for your early release. There is so much sympathy for your plight around the globe and we are overwhelmed at such support, all of which helps to buoy us up during the past seemingly interminable four weeks.

I would like to say something to those who are holding you. You have family. Please think about what this is doing to my family

I would like to say something to those who are holding you. You have family. Please think about what this is doing to my family, including in particular the distress and deep concern Alan's mother and sister have had to endure for all these long weeks. As I have said before please let my son go now, today.

Alan, all our heartfelt warmest fondest love is sent to you from all your family and in the fervent hope that you will be released unharmed. Chin up my son, Trini, Raymond, Alastair and as always your ever-loving mum and dad.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Archive footage of Alan Johnston reporting from Gaza



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