Britain condemns release of Iraq hostage video

February 27th, 2008 - 12:53 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Gordon Brown
London, Feb 27 (DPA) The British government has condemned the release of a video on an Arabic satellite TV channel purporting to show one of five British hostages kidnapped in Baghdad last May. The Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV broadcast a clip of the bearded man, who gave his name as Peter Moore, and urged Prime Minister Gordon Brown to facilitate the hostages’ release.

Al Arabyia said it had received the video from a Shia group.

According to the BBC, the man demanded the release of “nine people held by the coalition authorities” in return for the release of the five Britons.

The men were seized during a seminar at the Finance Ministry in Baghdad May 29 last year in an audacious operation involving a large number of attackers wearing Iraqi police uniforms.

In London, the Foreign Office said Tuesday the film would be “greatly distressing” to the men’s families and called on the kidnappers to release them immediately.

In a previous video, broadcast by Al-Arabiya on Dec 4, the kidnappers threatened to kill the men unless British troops were pulled out of Iraq within 10 days.

The clip showed one of the alleged hostages flanked by two masked gunmen pointing their weapons at him.

Sitting in front of a sign reading “the Islamic Shiite Resistance in Iraq”, the man, giving his name as Jason, said he and his fellow-hostages had been “forgotten”.

The British government has not confirmed the identity of the men, all believed to be working for security firms, and revealed nothing about where, by whom and under what circumstances they might be held.

It has also consistently ruled out negotiations with kidnappers.

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