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An Urgent Appeal: Please Release Our Friends in Iraq


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Four members of Christian Peacemaker Teams were taken this past Saturday, November 26, in Baghdad, Iraq. They are not spies, nor do they work in the service of any government. They are people who have dedicated their lives to fighting against war and have clearly and publicly opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq. They are people of faith, but they are not missionaries. They have deep respect for the Islamic faith and for the right of Iraqis to self-determination.

C.P.T. first came to Iraq in October 2002 to oppose the US invasion, and it has remained in the country throughout the occupation in solidarity with the Iraqi people. The group has been invaluable in alerting the world to many of the horrors facing Iraqis detained in US-run prisons and detention centers. C.P.T. was among the first to document the torture occurring at the Abu Ghraib prison, long before the story broke in the mainstream press. Its members have spent countless hours interviewing Iraqis about abuse and torture suffered at the hands of US forces and have disseminated this information internationally.

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.

We appeal to those holding these activists to release them unharmed so that they may continue their vital work as witnesses and peacemakers.

Signed,**

Arundhati Roy, author, The God of Small Things
Tariq Ali, author, Bush in Babylon
Denis Halliday, former U.N. Assistant Secretary General and Head of the U.N. Humanitarian Program in Iraq (1997-1998)
Cindy Sheehan, mother of Casey Sheehan
Noam Chomsky, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Haifa Zangana, Iraqi novelist
Kamil Mahdi, Iraqi economist and anti-occupation activist. Lecturer, University of Exeter
Mahmood Mamdani, "Herbert Lehman Professor of Government," Columbia University
Rashid Khalidi, "Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies," Middle East Institute, Columbia University
Cindy and Craig Corrie, parents of Rachel Corrie, killed by Israeli military
Hasan Abu Nimah, Permanent Representative of Jordan at the United Nations (1995-2000)
Ralph Nader, former independent presidential candidate
James Abourezk, former US Senator
Howard Zinn, historian
Naseer Aruri, Professor (Emeritus) University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence/Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
Naomi Klein, author/journalist
Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights
Rev. Daniel Berrigan, poet
Jeremy Scahill, independent journalist
Mazin Qumsiyeh, author, Sharing the Land Of Canaan, board member US Campaign to End the Occupation
Milan Rai, author, War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq
Sam Husseini, writer
Dahr Jamail, independent journalist
Ali Abunimah & Nigel Parry, Co-founders, Electronic Iraq
Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator, United for Peace and Justice
Eve Ensler, author
Jennifer Harbury, Director, Stop Torture Permanently Campaign
Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Detroit
Anthony Arnove, author, Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal
Medea Benjamin, Global Exchange
G. Simon Harak, SJ, War Resisters League
David Hartsough, Co-Founder and Capacity Building Director of Nonviolent Peaceforce and Executive Director of Peaceworkers. Nonviolent Peace Force
Blase Bonpane, Office of the Americas
Carol Bragg, Coordinator, Rhode Island Peace Mission
Rev. Richard Deats, former Executive Secretary and Fellowship Editor, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Omar Diop, Pr鳩dent de la Coalition S鮩galaise des D馥nseurs des Droits humains
Jim Forest, Secretary, The Orthodox Peace Fellowship
Thomas C. Cornell, The Catholic Worker
David Grant, Nonviolent Peaceforce
Ted Lewis, Global Exchange
Charles Jenks, Chair of Advisory Board, Traprock Peace Center
Jeff Leys, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Andr顠Schmidt, independent journalist
Michael Albert, ZNet
Richard McDowell, Senior Fellow for Iraq Policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation?
Dave McReynolds, former Chair, War Resisters International
Peter Lems, Program Associate for Iraq, American Friends Service Committee
Kevin Zeese, Director, Democracy Rising
Sunny Miller, Director, Traprock Peace Center
Dave Robinson, Director, Pax Christi USA
Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, National Coordinator, Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq
David Swanson, Co-Founder, After Downing Street, Board Member Progressive Democrats of America, Washington Director Democrats.com
Mary Trotochaud, Senior Fellow for Iraq Policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation
Michael Birmingham, activist
Barbara Wien, Co-Director, Peace Brigades International/USA
Bishop Gabino Zavala, President, Pax Christi USA

**Organizations and institutions are listed for identification purposes only

Contact: freethecpt(at)gmail.com

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