Page last updated at 02:13 GMT, Saturday, 17 May 2008 03:13 UK

Carey makes new Iraq hostage plea

Lord Carey makes his appeal

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has made a direct appeal urging those holding five British hostages in Iraq to free them.

In a video, released through the Times newspaper, he addressed the kidnappers as "honourable men" and "men of faith".

The four guards and a computer expert were seized in Baghdad on 29 May 2007.

Whitehall sources told the BBC Lord Carey, who made a similar appeal last year, did not speak for the government and it preferred discreet negotiation.

I appeal to you, as good people, to release these men who long to be back home once more
Lord Carey
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said the government was doing everything it could "to secure the safe release of the hostages".

The former Archbishop, speaking in English and Arabic, recorded his appeal on Friday at the House of Lords, accompanied by Canon Andrew White, his former Middle East envoy and now Anglican chaplain to Iraq, the Times said.

"I greet you as honourable men. I greet you as men of faith. I believe, as you do, that faith is important in this broken world," Lord Carey said.

"I appeal to you, as good people, to release these men who long to be back home once more."

Canon White told the captors Iraq was one of the "greatest nations" in the world and that the hostages had been helping with reconstruction work in the country when they were taken.

'Helping Iraq'

The father of one of the captives also told the Times of the "hell" he had suffered during the last year and said he wanted more effort to be made to secure his son's release.

Maybe they [the kidnappers] will show a bit of sympathy and compassion and let him go
Father of one of the hostages
"I just feel there's not enough happening and I would like to see more done about it because it's my son out there," he said.

The man also said his son had not been playing a military role when he was captured but was instead "trying to help rebuild Iraq".

"Maybe they [the kidnappers] will show a bit of sympathy and compassion and let him go," he added.

Lord Carey made a similar appeal to the kidnappers in December when he also read a plea from the hostages' families in which they said: "We love you and miss you very much and want you to know that you are never out of our thoughts."

The men were seized by gunmen at Baghdad's foreign ministry.

In a videotape dated 18 November last year, the kidnappers warned they would kill one of the men as a "first warning" unless UK forces left Iraq within 10 days.

One of the hostages has been identified as Peter Moore, originally from Lincoln, who was working as a computer consultant. The identities of the four other men have not been confirmed.

The case has not featured in the media as much as other kidnappings in Iraq - including those of Ken Bigley and Margaret Hassan - because of a Foreign Office request for minimal coverage.




SEE ALSO
Iraq hostage families make appeal
06 Sep 07 |  Middle East
Five Britons abducted in Baghdad
29 May 07 |  Middle East

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