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Christian Ex-Hostages Ask 'All Possible Leniency' for Captors

Three Christian peace activists who were held for weeks in Iraq earlier this year before being rescued pleaded on Friday for 'all possible leniency' for their captors.
( [email protected] ) Dec 08, 2006 03:37 PM EST

LONDON (AP) - Three Christian peace activists who were held for weeks in Iraq earlier this year before being rescued pleaded on Friday for "all possible leniency" for their captors.

Briton Norman Kember and Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden told a news conference they had not decided whether they would give evidence at the trial of those accused of taking them hostage.

"If it was necessary to take part in a trial to plead for clemency and that was the only way we could come to it, then we would take part, but that would be the only reason to take part," said Kember, 74.

The three men were held for 118 days before being freed on March 23 in a military rescue operation. The fourth captive, American Tom Fox, was killed by the kidnappers.

The three men, members of the Canada-based Christian Peacemaker Teams, issued a statement saying they had unconditionally forgiven their captors.

"We have no desire to punish them. Punishment can never restore what was taken from us. What our captors did was wrong. They caused us, our families and our friends great suffering," they said in the statement. "Yet we bear no malice towards them and have no wish for retribution. Should those who have been charged with holding us hostage be brought to trial and convicted, we ask that they be granted all possible leniency."

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