There is fresh hope for the family of an Auckland student being held hostage in Iraq after a video appeared on a Jihadi website of him and a fellow captor eating a meal and talking about possible release.
Thirty-two-year-old Harmeet Sooden, who is a Canadian citizen, was captured in Baghdad more than a week ago along with three other men - Tom Fox, 54; Briton Norman Kember, 74; and Canadian James Loney, 41.
The four are peace activists working for an organisation called Christian Peacemaker Teams, one of the few aid groups still operating in Iraq.
In the video Sooden says they are all being treated well.
"We'd like to thank the people holding us for that and hopefully we'll be home soon," he says.
Sooden's brother in law Mark Brewer says the family are still optimistic.
"It's great to hear his voice, it's a familiar voice to us... and it's nice to hear it in good form."
Brewer says the family are still looking at ways to bring Sooden home safely.
A previously unknown group calling itself "Swords of Truth" has threatened to kill the four peace activists unless Iraqi detainees are freed by Thursday.
Britain's Foreign Office has denied media reports that contact had been made with the kidnappers.
"Sadly, while wishing this were the case, it has not happened," a spokesman said. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Britain would not negotiate with kidnappers or pay ransoms but it was open to hearing from the group holding Kember.
"If the hostage-takers want to make contact with the British government we stand ready to hear what they have to say," Straw told reporters in London.
Muslim scholars and activists from around the world, including leaders of the militant Hamas and Hizbollah groups, have appealed for the mens' release.
"Such peace activists should have been welcomed into Iraq and treated as honourable guests instead of being kidnapped and used as bargaining chips," said a statement issued by the Muslim Association of Britain and signed by 25 Muslim figures.
Khaled Mishaal, head of the political bureau of the Palestinian Hamas movement, and two officials of the Lebanese Hizbollah guerrilla group were among the signatories, along with clerics and scholars from Algeria to Malaysia.
"While fully supporting the right of the Iraqi people to resist occupation with all legitimate means, we denounce as illegitimate any act of aggression against innocent civilians," the statement said.
"We therefore call for the immediate release of these four hostages and of all other Western civilians kidnapped in Iraq."
Thousands of civilians have been kidnapped in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, including over 200 foreigners. Many fall victim to criminal gangs seeking ransom but insurgent groups have also often demanded foreign forces quit Iraq.
Most foreign hostages have been released, but around 50 have been executed - some by beheadings in front of cameras.