100 days on, still no word on captive student in Iraq
The sister of hostage Harmeet Singh Sooden says it's
difficult to believe 100 days have passed since he was
kidnapped in Iraq.
Mr Sooden, 32, a Canadian citizen who
lived and studied in New Zealand, was captured along with
three others from a Christian peace organisation in November
Vigils are planned in Britain and Canada
to mark the 100th day of captivity for Mr Sooden, Canadian
James Loney, American Tom Fox and Norman Kember of Britain,
Canadian broadcaster CTV said on its website today.
Mr Sooden's sister, Preety Brewer of
Auckland, told NZPA today that she did not think any similar
vigils were planned in New Zealand.
"There are none that I'm aware of," she
She said the family had heard "absolutely
nothing" of Mr Sooden since they received video footage of him
in late January.
"We're just waiting and hoping."
Ms Brewer said it was hard to believe it
had been 100 days since Mr Sooden was kidnapped by a group
calling themselves Swords of Truth.
"It's amazing it's been so long already,
I just can't believe it."
Mr Sooden's family said in January they
were shocked at his condition in the video footage.
His brother-in-law, Mark Brewer, said it
was a relief for the family to see the images after such a
long time, but Mr Sooden's appearance had changed
"He looks pretty dishevelled and I think
he's lost a bit of weight and he's obviously looking very
tired, so you know for us to see someone we care about in that
situation is very difficult," Mr Brewer said.
Mr Sooden's captors have said they will
kill the four men if all Iraqi detainees are not released from
prisons. Muslim clerics and political leaders from around the
world have called on the kidnappers to release the men
The four men, volunteers for Christian
Peacemaker Teams, were in Iraq attempting to document human
rights abuses in the wake of the US-led war in Iraq.
Prime Minister Helen Clark has regularly
called for the release of Mr Sooden and his fellow hostages.
"The New Zealand Government continues to
urge the captors of Harmeet and his friends to release them.
All four were on a peaceful mission to Iraq, and were
motivated purely by a desire to help the Iraqi people," she
said in January.
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