CHICAGO/TORONTO: News from Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) hostages; response to torture rumours

24 March 2006

CHICAGO/TORONTO: News from Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) hostages;
response to torture rumours

by Rev. Carol Rose and Dr. Doug Pritchard CPT Co-directors

"For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the
complete comes, the partial will come to an end" (1 Corinthians 13:9-10).

On 23 and 24 March 2006, the Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) in Baghdad met
with colleagues Norman Kember, Jim Loney, and Harmeet Sooden who had just
been freed after four months in captivity. The team found the men to be
well, alert and in good spirits. The men asked many questions about their
families, friends and colleagues at home and in Iraq. They have also begun
to tell some parts of the story of their captivity--of efforts to stay
physically fit, of periodic separations and reunions, of receiving a
Christmas cake.

The news of Tom Fox's death--which they learned about only after their
release--has been a particular burden. They said that Tom had taken
leadership in encouraging the group right from the beginning of their
captivity. They have not yet shared with CPT details about their captors or
the events which led to their freedom.

In a statement released to the Baghdad media on 24 March, they wrote, "We
are deeply grateful to all those who worked and prayed for our release. We
have no words to describe our feelings of great joy at being free again. Our
heads are swirling and when we are ready we will talk to the media."

The rest of us in CPT are also grateful to all those who worked nonviolently
and prayed fervently for their release--religious leaders and soldiers,
teammates and government officials, partner organizations, friends, family,
children, women and men all over the world. We are particularly grateful
that no one was injured in this rescue operation.

In order not to cause Tom Fox's family further pain, and for the sake of
accuracy, CPT urges that the media and everyone concerned refrain from
repeating the rumour that Tom Fox was tortured. Two CPTers, Rev. Carol Rose
and Rich Meyer, viewed Tom's body and did not see signs of torture. We also
have reports from two additional independent sources who examined the body
more thoroughly. They also did not find evidence of torture. Until the final
autopsy report is released, we ask everyone to withhold their judgment.

Christian Peacemaker Teams will continue in the coming weeks, insofar as it
is humanly possible, to report the truth of what we have witnessed and
learned. We do so because we are followers of Jesus Christ, "the way, and
the truth, and the life" (John 14:6.)