Norman Kember’s statement

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[Note: Kember read the following statement today when he arrived at Heathrow
airport.]

There is a real sense in which you are interviewing the wrong person.

It is the ordinary people of Iraq that you should be talking to – the people who have suffered so much over many years and still await the stable and just society that they deserve.

Another group that I hope you do not forget are the relatives of British soldiers killed or wounded in Iraq.

I do not believe that a lasting peace is achieved by armed force, but I pay tribute to their courage and thank those who played a part in my release.

I am not ready at this time to talk about my months of captivity except to say that I am delighted to be free and reunited with my family.

In reality it was my wife who was kidnapped last November. She suffered more than I because while I knew that I was alive and well, she did not.

I thank all who supported Pat during this stressful time.

‘Thanks to staff’

While in Baghdad we had opportunity to thank the Embassy staff who worked so diligently for our release.

I now thank the staff in Britain who also dedicated so much time to the same end.

Then I am grateful to all those from many faith communities who appealed for my release and held prayers and vigils in my name.

Pat assures me that I will be overwhelmed by the volume of goodwill messages – our home is currently like a flower shop.

I thank the media for agreeing to share news and reduce the stress on me.

I now need to reflect on my experience – was I foolhardy or rational? – and also to enjoy freedom in peace and quiet.

Thank you.

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