Friday, January 27, 2006

[23.00 GMT] Earlier this week, a variety of church leaders in the United States, including Bishop Gabino Zalva of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Los Angeles, the Rev Dr Bob Edgar of the National Council of Churches USA and the Rev Roy Medley, American Baptist Churches in the USA, supported by Michel Sabbah, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, issued a letter to President Bush and the US Congress in which they said: We know that thousands of Iraqis have been held without charge since the war in Iraq began almost three years ago. Just as we fear for the safety of our Christian Peacemakers, we know that the Iraqi families of those detainees are also afraid. Their fears multiply when there are no reports of abuse of detainees, whether by Iraqi or U.S forces. We believe there can be no end to the conflict in the Middle East so long as this practice continues. Detention without charge is a practice that cannot be allowed to continue, for it simply heightens the level of fear, and in our world today fear too often leads to further violence… We continue to pray for the safety and release of our brothers with Christian Peacemaker Teams. We are grateful for the thousands of Muslims, in our own country and across the globe, who have taken some risk to denounce the kidnapping of these volunteers, and who remain steadfast in their call for peace.

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