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Locke appeals to Iraqi captors

1 December 2005

Locke appeals to Iraqi captors to set Aucklander free

Below is the letter that Keith Locke has sent today to the captors of Harmeet Sooden, via Al Jazeera.

Appeal to the Captors of New Zealand peace worker Harmeet Sooden

Assalamu alaikum

I am a Green Party Member of Parliament in New Zealand. I am the party's spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and have long campaigned against the US-led invasion of Iraq and the occupation of Iraq. See www.greens.org.nz for our statements over the last four years.

I read in today's paper that my fellow Aucklander Harmeet Sooden has been seized in Baghdad along with three other members of a Christian Peacemaking Team. The captives were shown yesterday on Al Jazeera TV, and described as being in the custody of the Swords of the Righteous Brigade.

It is clear from the information I have seen in New Zealand that my fellow Aucklander Harmeet Sooden, who has been seized in Iraq, is a peace worker, not a spy. He is a courteous student at the University of Auckland, well-respected by his friends and colleagues.

The evidence I have also suggests that the Christian Peacemaking Teams operate independently of any government and are not supporters of the US-led invasion and occupation.

I respectfully request that your organisation releases Mr Sooden and his fellow peace workers.

I am sending this appeal to the Al Jazeera news service, in the hope that they will mention it in their reports and you will get to see or hear of it.

Most sincerely,

Keith Locke


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