Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Peter Moore, a British IT consultant and computer programmer who was taken hostage by Iraqi militants during a May 2007 militant raid on the finance ministry in Baghdad, has been released alive and in good health.

He is the only known survivor of a group of five hostages, consisting of himself, three bodyguards, and Alan McMenemy, a security guard from Glasgow. The bodyguards (Alec Maclachlan, Jason Swindlehurst, and Jason Creswell) were later shot and killed, and their bodies have been returned to Britain. McMenemy is believed to have met the same fate. The last time Moore was known to be alive was when a DVD showing him was handed to Iraqi authorities earlier this year.

The five men were captured by a group of approximately forty men disguised as Iraqi policemen in May 2007, who are believed to belong to the Islamic Shia Resistance, an obscure militant organisation also known as the Righteous League. Moore is now in the British Embassy in Baghdad, and is to be reunited with his family as soon as possible, according to Milliband.

United Kingdom foreign secretary David Milliband said that he was “absolutely delighted at his release” after two and a half years of “misery, fear and uncertainty”. He claimed to be in a “remarkable frame of mind” after a “very moving” conversation with Moore. He also asked for the release of McMenemy’s body. He said that no “substantive concessions” had been made by the British government, instead praising Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for his government’s process of reconciliation.

remember the families of British hostages who have been killed in Iraq and elsewhere

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a statement in which he said he was “hugely relieved by the wonderful news that Peter has been freed”, calling for the British people to “remember the families of British hostages who have been killed in Iraq and elsewhere.” He continued with a pledge that the government would “continue to do everything [it] can to bring British hostages back to their loved ones, including the remaining hostage of the group in Iraq, Alan McMenemy”. He said, “I demand that the hostage takers return him to us.”

Moore’s father, Graeme, said he was “over the moon” about his son’s release, saying, “We are so relieved and we just want to get him home, back now to his family and friends. I’m breaking down, I’m just so overjoyed for the lad. It’s been such a long haul. I know that there have been one or two people working in the background to get Peter released. Peter is a very resilient lad and he always has been because of his background.” He said the British Foreign Office had been “obstructive” with regards to his son’s release.

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