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Quiet vigil held for hostage

Published: 8:11AM Tuesday December 06, 2005 Source: RNZ

More than 70 people attended a vigil in central Auckland on Monday night to pray for Harmeet Singh Sooden, an Auckland student who is a hostage in Iraq.

Sooden, a 32-year-old Canadian citizen and a resident of New Zealand, was kidnapped with three others in Baghdad on November 26.

A video broadcast last week by Al Jazeera television said the two Canadians, one Briton and one American, were "spies working for the occupying forces" and their captors have threatened to kill them unless all Iraqi detainees are released by Thursday.

More than 70 people gathered in Aotea Square to pray on Monday.

Some had tears rolling down their cheeks, others held placards saying "please free my friend".

A friend of Sooden's Elizabeth Eastmond said he is a man of justice and peace and was not a spy, as his captors claim.

A short period of silence was observed during the vigil to pray for the activist's safe release.