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News :: Human Rights : International : Politics
BU students hold vigil for kidnapped peace activist in Iraq
08 Dec 2005
Local Boston University student activists, including members of the Student Underground newspaper collective, are holding a vigil for their friend Harmeet Sooden who is being held hostage in Iraq. They met him while studying abroad in New Zealand last semester, and just heard the news of his capture. They are calling for an anti-war vigil tomorrow (December 9, the day before International Human Rights Day) at 6:00pm in front of the military recruitment center at Tremont Street, across the street from the Park Street T stop in the Boston Common. Please come to support Hermeet, his colleagues, his friends, and everyone who is working for peace in Iraq and across the world.
Local Boston University student activists, including members of the Student Underground newspaper collective, are holding a vigil for their friend Harmeet Sooden who is being held hostage in Iraq. They met him while studying abroad in New Zealand last semester, and just heard the news of his capture. They are calling for an anti-war vigil tomorrow (December 9, the day before International Human Rights Day) at 6:00pm in front of the military recruitment center at Tremont Street, across the street from the Park Street T stop in the Boston Common. Please come to support Hermeet, his colleagues, his friends, and everyone who is working for peace in Iraq and across the world.

On November 26, American Tom Fox, Briton Norman Kember and Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Sooden were kidnapped in Iraq. The previously unknown group Swords of Righteousness Brigade took credit for the kidnapping and are demanding the release of prisoners in US and Iraqi detention centers. (Hostage's loved ones wait in agony, by Julie Middleton, nzherald.co.nz)

"We've had no contact (with the kidnappers) but we are obviously aware of their so-called demands. These are demands which ..... no government could meet," said British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. "If hostage takers have anything to say to the UK government or other governments, we're always ready to listen." (UK 'can't meet captors' demands, cnn.com)

Before Harmeet was in Iraq, he was spending time in Palestine working with locals and peace groups, including the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). On a farm outside of the city of Jenin, Harmeet helped ISM activists plant olive trees. He commited to come back to Palestine to work with ISM more at the beginning of December 2005. (Harmeet Sooden Was Working With ISM, scoop.co.nz).

Christian Peacemaker Teams is a non-missionary human rights group that works to promote nonviolence. Their website states that "Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) arose from a call in 1984 for Christians to devote the same discipline and self-sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that armies devote to war." They have team members in Iraq, Palestine, Columbia, and they've had a seasonal precense on the Arizona/Mexico border since 2004, challenging US immigration policies and "remain[ing] alert to vigilante threats and monitor[ing] border patrol officers’ treatment of migrants." They have sent peace teams to Haiti, Bosnia, and Chiapas, Mexico, as well as many other places. (cpt.org)

For more information, check these articles:

Group makes another plea for hostages' release
http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/12/06/christian.hostages/index.html

UK 'can't meet captors' demands'
http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/12/07/uk.hostage.ap/

Hostage's loved ones wait in agony
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=2&ObjectID=10359165

Video Broadcast of Kidnapped Members of Christian Peacemaker Teams that Helped Expose Abu Ghraib Prisoner Abuse Scandal
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/11/30/153252 [video footage]

Iraqi kidnappers extend hostage deadline
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20051207.whostag1207/

Harmeet Sooden Was Working With ISM
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0512/S00007.htm

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CANCELLED
08 Dec 2005
Due to bad weather and snow, we're cancelling this vigil. We'll keep you updated though.
Re: BU students hold vigil for kidnapped peace activist in Iraq
09 Dec 2005
Sorry to hear about these recent kidnappings. Terrorists don't care whether they kill soldiers, kids or peace activists. Hopefully, they'll be released or a tactical solution can be put in place.
Re: BU students hold vigil for kidnapped peace activist in Iraq
10 Dec 2005
Sorry to hear about the recent invasion of your country. Empirist/Capitalists/Americans don't care whether they kill soldiers, kids or peace activists. Hopefully, they'll be voted out of office or a tactical solution can be put in place to force them to withdraw.