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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 September, 2004, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK
Adams plea for Bigley release
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams appeared on Al-Jazeera
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has made an appeal on Al-Jazeera for the release of British hostage Ken Bigley.

Mr Bigley was taken hostage by the hardline Tawhid and Jihad group along with the two American colleagues in Iraq.

On Thursday, Mr Adams asked the group to set him free.

The Sinn Fein leader was in London with Martin McGuinness for a series of meetings with the British and Irish Governments.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera, the Arabic TV channel, Mr Adams said: "I was approached by campaigners seeking the release of Ken Bigley.

"I spoke yesterday to Paul, Ken's brother. Mr Bigley's mother is from Ireland and this gives us a special interest.

"The majority of people in Ireland were against the invasion of Iraq and are against the war in Iraq.

I am not here to lecture to people or to dictate to people, but I believe that the cause of those who hold Mr Bigley can be better advanced if they are magnanimous and generous and release him
Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein

"The taoiseach (Bertie Ahern) and other Irish politicians have called for the release of Ken Bigley.

"I am not here to lecture to people or to dictate to people, but I believe that the cause of those who hold Mr Bigley can be better advanced if they are magnanimous and generous and release him."

A Sinn Fein official has spoken to the Palestinian Authority on Mr Adams's behalf and intends to speak with Jordanian officials later on Thursday.

Former SDLP leader John Hume confirmed that he had also appeared on an Arabic television channel appealing for Mr Bigley to be returned to his Irish-born mother.

Mr Bigley has been shown in a new video screened on Al-Jazeera.

The engineer is seen shackled in a cage wearing an orange jumpsuit and pleading for help from the prime minister.

"Tony Blair is lying. He doesn't care about me," Mr Bigley sobbed, looking unwell and distraught.

Ken Bigley
Ken Bigley was shown sobbing behind bars
Mr Blair said "everything possible" was being done to secure Mr Bigley's release but said the hostage takers had not made contact.

In the footage Mr Bigley calls on Mr Blair to meet the demands of his kidnappers to free female prisoners in Iraq and says his captors do not want to kill him.

Following the broadcast of the video, the Bigley family renewed their appeal for the release of the 62-year-old engineer.

"We would like to send a message, on behalf of our family, to the people holding Ken... We want to thank you for this opportunity to see him alive again," said Mr Bigley's brother Philip.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Newly released video footage of Ken Bigley



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