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NZ support for Peacemakers abducted in Baghdad

Peace Movement Aotearoa
5 December 2005

There are three parts to this message:

- NZ web page for Harmeet Sooden and his fellow Peacemakers

- sign the on-line petition

- vigil in Auckland tonight

* NZ web page for Harmeet Sooden and his fellow Peacemakers *

A web page for Harmeet Sooden, valued friend and colleague, and his fellow Peacemakers James Loney, Norman Kember, and Tom Fox who were abducted in Baghdad on 26 November 2005, is now on-line at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/harmeet.htm The page focuses on statements of support and media coverage in Aotearoa New Zealand, and includes links to overseas statements of support.

* Sign the on-line petition *

"Each of the four C.P.T. members being held in Iraq has dedicated his life to resisting the darkness and misery of war and occupation. Convinced that it is not enough to oppose the war from the safety of their homes, they made the difficult decision to go to Iraq, knowing that the climate of mistrust created by foreign occupation meant that they could be mistaken for spies or missionaries. They went there with a simple purpose: to bear witness to injustice and to embody a different kind of relationship between cultures and faiths. Members of C.P.T. willingly undertook the risks of living among Iraqis, in a common neighborhood outside of the infamous Green Zone. They sought no protection from weapons or armed guards, trusting in, and benefiting from, the goodwill of the Iraqi people. Acts of kindness and hospitality from Iraqis were innumerable and ensured the C.P.T. members' safety and wellbeing. We believe that spirit will prevail in the current situation." You can sign the on-line petition calling for the release of the four peacemakers is at http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/freethecpt

* Vigil in Auckland tonight *

Auckland University Students for Justice in Palestine invite all Aucklanders to a vigil in Aotea Square in central Auckland at 6pm on Monday December 5. The vigil is to show the world that Harmeet Sooden and his fellow captors are peaceful men.

Harmeet was a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and a friend to many in the group. SJP are calling on his captors to be merciful and release him and the other peace workers without harm. Harmeet is in Iraq solely for peaceful purposes and is passionate about taking an active role in giving humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people.

We know Harmeet personally as a fellow university student, a gentle person who regularly joins our rallies and demonstrations in support of the Palestinian and Iraqi people. Harmeet Sooden is not a spy, nor is he an evangelist. He is a peace lover and an ardent supporter of the oppressed Iraqi and Palestinian peoples. To that end we ask all those who wish for his release to attend the vigil on Monday for quiet reflection, and to make contact with others who have concerns regarding the situation.

SJP Spokesperson Miriam Pierard said, "We are deeply troubled by the abduction of our friend and hope for his safe release. We extend our thoughts and prayers to the families of the captive men and also to the people of Iraq, whose suffering will no doubt increase if these innocent supporters of their cause are killed."

ENDS

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